The Ghanaian electoral commission announced Saturday that the opposition candidate John Atta-Mills had won the fiercely contested run-off election. After losing in the first round to incumbent candidate Nana-Akufo who did not get the 50% plus one vote required to win, Atta-Mills came back to win by a mere 0.46% of the total votes cast in the run-off.
With the conclusion of this election Ghana has proven that it is indeed a constitutional democracy – at least according to political scientists. Twice it has exchanged power after elections without any chaos and this time round it was a tight election too. And it is the second time that an incumbent party lost an election and conceded defeat. It happened when Kufuor won his first term as Rawlings stepped down and it has happened again now that Kufuor is stepping down.
My hope now is that other countries in Africa will feel challenged to rise to Ghana’s level of sobriety (and beyond) when it comes to democratic politics. Ghana’s example of reasonably free and fair elections, contested by two stable major political parties contrasts sharply with the electoral processes of most other African nations. Kenya for instance sees the birth of a major political party (a coalition of greedy politicians to say the truth) every time there is a general election. We saw it with FORD in 1992, NARC in 2002 and PNU in 2007.
Back to Ghana, congratulations on this wonderful show and best wishes to Atta-Mills as he begins his work to develop the land of the Osagyefo.