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Akufo-Addo and Mahama neck-a-neck in Ghana elections

Billie McTernan
By Billie McTernan

Follow Billie McTernan as she covers the 2012 Ghanaian presidential and parliamentary elections. Billie writes on political and cultural affairs across the continent.

Posted on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 14:38

The first event to spin the political compass was the death of President John Atta Mills in July. This was a bodyblow to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), who had been hoping for Mills to coast into a second term.

Having lost the 2008 election to President Mills by just over 40,000 votes, the National Patriotic Party’s (NPP) presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo immediately set about visiting the country’s various geographical regions in a bid to boost his popularity.

Previously caricatured as haughty, and out of touch with the concerns of lowly Ghanaians, Akufo-Addo has tried to buff his credentials as a man of the people, meeting and greeting, getting into the villages.

John Dramini Mahama was shoved into the top job on the death of his boss. Though some thought that he would benefit from a sympathy vote, the difficulties and rigours of being president may have taken some of the shine off Mahama.

Throughout the year popularity has oscillated between the NDC and NPP and at various wins for both parties have been predicted after a number of opinion polls.

Presidential debates that took place in October and November saw snide comments aplenty shot across the podiums.

The NDC were accused of mismanagement of state finances and resources whilst Nana Akufo-Addo was criticised for his comments on the NDC government knowingly harbouring Ivorian dissidents who are against the Ouattara government.

After both debates – the first of which was an eyelid-sapping five-plus hours long – it seemed that Akufo-Addo came out on top. But a good debater does not necessarily make a good president and the NPP will have to prove that they are a party for the people, and not just a select privileged few as they are often accused.

Speak with a pro-NPP taxi driver and he will tell you that he has had enough of the NDC’s corruption. Whilst a NDC supporter will tell you that the NPP are liars. A choice between the best of a bad bunch, it seems. A second round of voting could well be on the cards.

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