Ghana candidates sign peace pact ahead of vote

A woman walks past a campaign poster, pasted on car door, of former president and National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate John Dramani Mahama in Accra December 3, 2020. — AFP pic
A woman walks past a campaign poster, pasted on car door, of former president and National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate John Dramani Mahama in Accra December 3, 2020. — AFP pic
ACCRA, Dec 4 — Ghana’s president, running for re-election, and his main opponent signed a symbolic peace pact Friday in the capital Accra, committing to use legal means in case of electoral disputes.

Ghana heads to the polls on Monday, and while the West African country has traditionally ensured peaceful elections and transitions of power, unlike many of its neighbours, the campaign was marked by clashes and tensions.

President Nana Akufo-Addo recommitted himself and his party to accepting whatever the election’s outcome.

“I have said that we believe in elections, and I am happy to give my word that we shall accept the verdict of the people of Ghana,” said Akufo-Addo.

“Above all, I pledge that the peace, unity and safety of Ghana will be our primary consideration,” he added.

Peace pacts were signed before the 2012 and 2016 elections, but this was the first agreement that included a committment to the eradication of vigilantism.

Many Ghanaians are worried that vigilantes, young men hired by parties and deployed to provide security for politicians could cause problems at polling stations.

The police said more than 62,000 personnel have been deployed nationwide.

“We expect to see all security personnel to behave professionally,” said opposition leader John Mahama, after signing the peace pact.

He and his party have questioned the neutrality of the electoral commission and criticised the compilation of the new voters’ register.

“Now more than ever we need the institutions of our democracy to work impartially to deliver an outcome that is fair, transparent and in the national interest,” said Mahama.

For Sam Kwarkye, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, “tensions between the two main parties haven’t subsided, and the stage is set for a potentially disputed outcome.”

Ten other candidates, including three women, are vying for the nation’s top job, but the vote is essentially a fight between the two political foes who are running against each other for the third time. — AFP

 

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