Ghanaians are preparing to elect the new parliament and president in a race dubbed “the battle of two giants”.
Ghanaians vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, with the race for first place dubbed “the battle of two giants”, should be a close fight between titular Nana Akufo-Addo and longtime opponent John Mahama.
Nestled along the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana – long a beacon of democracy and stability in West Africa – has ensured peaceful transfers of power seven times since its return to democracy nearly 30 years ago. years.
The two main parties have always accepted the election results and have lodged a complaint with the courts.
To ensure the continuity of its tradition of peaceful elections, Akufo-Addo, 76, and Mahama, 62, signed a symbolic peace pact on Friday.
They are among the 12 candidates, including three women, who present themselves.
“In view of the events that have taken place on the continent, and indeed in West Africa, the whole world is waiting for us to maintain our status as a beacon of democracy, peace and stability,” Akufo-Addo said in a statement. Sunday televised speech. evening.
Voters vote for a new president and members of parliament for 275 constituencies between 7 a.m. (6 a.m. GMT) and 5 p.m. (4 p.m. GMT) at 38,000 polling stations across the country.
The main problems are unemployment, infrastructure, education and health.
Ahmed Idris of Al Jazeera, from the capital Accra, said security was tight at many polling stations amid measures against COVID-19.
“The outgoing president is waging his biggest political battle in this election against the man he replaced four years ago in a hotly contested election,” he said.
“Now Akufo-Addo is trying to convince Ghanaians that he is still the man for the job while opponent Mahama says he can perform better. There are 10 other presidential candidates, but the main race is expected to be between these two.
Ghana has made giant strides in the past two decades, becoming the second largest cocoa producer in the world, but many still live in extreme poverty with limited access to clean water or electricity.
Hard hit by the pandemic, the growth of the nation of 30 million people is expected to drop to 0.9% this year according to the International Monetary Fund, its lowest in 30 years and a sharp drop of 6.5% in 2019.
‘Battle of two giants’
Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party have already clashed at the polls three times.
The incumbent received high marks for his management of the pandemic and his record in providing free education and improving access to electricity.
But he has disappointed some in his performance in the fight against corruption – the key issue for which he was elected four years ago.
Despite this, corruption is a difficult issue for Mahama to tackle, as he himself has stepped down under a cloud of corruption allegations.
Mahama has also been criticized for his bad economic decisions and the accumulation of unsustainable debt.
But the skilled communicator dismissed the criticisms, making ambitious pledges to build infrastructure, create jobs and modernize the country.
A bold move by Mahama was to choose former Education Minister Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as vice president, the first woman to be signed up for a big party.