Ghana elects a new president

A close presidential election in Ghana has put the West African nation’s electoral system to the test, but in the end the opposition candidate John Atta Mills, 64, won by a very narrow margin. There were allegations of fraud on several sides, and the runoff election in the Tain region had to be re-done due to problems. But in the end, observers have given the poll a clean bill of health, and it appears that Ghana is headed for a peaceful transfer of power.

2008 was a disastrous year for democracy in Africa. But I am glad to see that Ghana has ended the year on a hopeful note, setting a positive example for governance in Africa, unlike the election disaster in Kenya, the rigged elections in Zimbabwe and the coup in Guinea. I was a bit worried that tensions over alleged election fraud would boil over in Ghana. But Ghanaian leaders appealed for calm and diffused tension. Sometimes they did so with typical Ghanaian creativity – with Fan Milk:

The electoral commission headquarters was besieged for much of Tuesday by thousands of NDC supporters demanding their candidate be declared the winner.

Armed police and soldiers backed by water cannon trucks and an armoured personnel carrier kept the protesters behind barricades and at one point fired warning shots

As tensions rose, party officials handed out ice cream and water to the crowds to calm them down.

BBC News, 12/30/2008 (my emphasis)

Handing out ice cream to protesters instead of shooting them, or arming them – that’s what I call real leadership. Bravo – and congratulations to Mr. Atta Mills and his supporters.

UPDATE: A personal account of violent intimidation of NPP supporters by the NDC shows that there was absolutely potential for violence (via Koreanteng’s Toli).

One Response to “Ghana elects a new president”

  1. Agbessi Says:

    Ghana is showing us the way. I think the passed the test!