Tension Grips Ghana As Opposition Candidate Leads In Close Presidential Election

By Kevin Mwanza Published: December 9, 2016, 7:09 am
presidential electionLines at an Accra, Ghana, polling station in the last presidential election, December 2012. Photo: Reuters/BBC

Ghana is gripped in tension after hackers targeted the Electoral Commission’s (EC) website, as two private radio stations said that Nana Akufo-Addo, of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), had won the election based on projections from provisional results.

The NPP urged the polls body to release results that have been delayed for the first time since 2000.

The poll’s body however, said that the website was up again after the attempt to put up fake results, adding that it delayed the results in order to conduct reviews, citing instances of over voting that allegedly took place at some centres, Prime NewsGhana.com reported.

The delay came amid victory claims by the two leading parties, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the main opposition, New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Senior party officials within NDC, said their candidate, President John Mahama was ahead, while the NPP expressed confidence that Akufo-Addo won the elections, held on Wednesday, The Cable reported.

Local media said that Akufo-Addo had garnered at least 53 percent of the votes from a majority of the polling station tallied, while Mahama had recorded 45 percent.

On Thursday, police shot into the air to disperse youths who protested the delay, in Bwaku Central constituency.

Ghana, one of the leading democracies in Africa is likely to erupt into post-election chaos for the first time its history.

“Outside the election commission, police are out in full force and they want to ensure that the outcome is peaceful,” Nicholas Haque, Al Jazeera correspondent, said from the capital, Accra.

This will be the third time since 2000, when an incumbent president has lost in the country, if the electoral body confirms the projected results by the local media.

In 2012, Mahama won by 50.7 percent in a close victory over Akufo-Addo.

Africa’s second biggest producer of cocoa has been in crisis under Mahama’s rule, as its economy struggled with soaring inflation, energy crisis, massive job cuts and the national currency, Cedi, depreciated by about 60 percent in the last two years.

The nation received a $918 million bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a three-year programme to boost its economy, Reuters reported.

Mahama’s defeat will be the second time under a week that an incumbent in Africa has lost to the opposition.

On Friday, Yahya Jammeh, president of The Gambia since 1994, lost to Adama Barrow, a real estate developer and former security guard in the United Kingdom.

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