Large turnout in Ghana’s election

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Incumbent President Mahama.
Incumbent President Mahama.

There was a large turnout of voters in Ghana on Wednesday for the general elections, including that of the Presidency.

Citizens also went about their normal activities as there was restriction on movement and no public holiday was declared.

Aside the parliamentary polls, the people were also to choose a new president between incumbent John Mahama and his rival Nana Akufo-Addo in a tight race, Africa Review reported.

Once praised by US President Barack Obama for its peaceful transfers of power, Ghana has come under fire amid reports of voter intimidation and questions over the independence of its election agency.

This election is seen as a litmus test of stability for one of Africa’s most secure democracies.

Charismatic Mahama hopes to win a second four-year term, but veteran opposition leader Akufo-Addo has chipped away at the popularity of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, focusing on Ghana’s sluggish growth and high-profile corruption scandals.

Tension built up in the run-up to the vote, however, with a supporter of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) beaten to death and six others critically wounded in clashes this week in the north.

On election day, NPP candidate Cecilia Gyan Amoah told AFP she had been beaten up with five others by vigilantes known locally as “macho men” reportedly hired by political parties.

The NPP’s Asutifu South candidate said she and her team had been assaulted by men holding guns and cutlasses, leaving one of her team in a critical condition.

“Such things shouldn’t happen in a country like Ghana. They have put fear into most of the people,” she said.

Casting his vote, Mr Akufo-Addo said it was “very important” for the election to go off smoothly and peacefully “so that Ghana continues to maintain this deserved image of being a democracy that takes its democracy seriously”.

An exporter of gold, cocoa and oil, Ghana was once hailed as a regional growth model, but has now taken on too much debt, and in 2015 had to go to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.

“We are facing a lot of problems economically, everything is messy,” said Ms Julie Amofah, 26, who voted in Kibi, a town 80km from the capital, Accra.
“I voted for change so we can move forward.”

Shadrack Opoku, an 18-year-old high school student, said Mr Akufo-Addo is the “right person for our country” and can secure future growth.

“When we complete university, we want better jobs,” Opoku said.

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