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22.12.2004 Feature Article

Celebrating The December 7th Elections.

Celebrating The December 7th Elections.
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Ghanaians have every reason to feel proud and celebrate the 7th december elections. Any believer in democracy sees rightaway that what matters is not who won or didn't. The most important thing is that, Ghana as a nation is gradually but surely choosing freedom and democracy over intimidation and lawlessness.

It remains true that not all Africans enjoy the freedom we take for granted today as Ghanaians. According to a recent survey on political rights and civil liberties in Africa by the UK based organization, Oxfam, 23 out of 50 African countries are classified as "not free". But overall, over the last decade Africa's status has been graded from "not free" to "partly free"- a significant improvement. It is becoming an acceptable fact that Ghana has gradually and surely moved from ”partly free” to ”free”.

The December 7th general elections have come to pass successfully. Though there were losers and winners in the literal sense of these words, in the real sense, both the defeated and the victorious can be considered to have triumphed. The sources for euphoria towards the outcome of these elections have been diverse, depending on whom or which group one has in mind. Many and every Ghanaian have had their own reasons to celebrate the elections.

For President J.A. Kufuor and his New Patriotic Party [NPP], the mandate to run the country for another 4-year term is overwhelmingly a welcome one. It's a chance to continue with their acclaimed policy of good governance and economic development, basically marked by the expansion of infrastructure in the country. The NPP government has now the chance to utilize the gains from the HIPC and carry out their vision expressed in Positive Change II. It must be recalled that, the Party was in opposition for over 30 years and a loss would have been a lethal blow to their future in Ghanaian politics. The 4,463,731 votes for President Kufuor and the 129 parliamentary seats for his party, is indeed something for them to celebrate.

Professor J.E.A. Mills and The National Democratic Congress [NDC], though literally defeated, have their own reason to celebrate the final outcome of the elections. There is no gainsaying that the Party he led has defended its position as the second largest political party since the 2000 elections. The 3,750,830 votes for Professor J.E.A. Mills, the presidential candidate and the 90 parliamentary seats is something to celebrate. The party has proved its opponents wrong by showing that they can make a comeback and are the likely alternative to the NPP government. This strong showing is clearly a morale booster for the march and preparation towards the 2008 elections.

The poor showing by Dr Edward Mahama for the People National Convention (PNC) and Mr George Aggudey for the Convention People's Party (CPP) might make champagne celebration unjustifiable. Dr Mahama and the PNC had 163,648 presidential votes and 4 seats in parliament, while Mr Aggudey and the CPP were only able to garner 84,501 presidential votes and 3 parliamentary seats; out of the total 10,288,382 eligible voters and 230 seats. No matter what, something positive can be drawn out of this. These parties have received strong warning from the Ghanaian electorate. This poor showing and the warning should give them the opportunity to know where and how to strategize to prevent the permeation of [what looks like] a two-party democracy.

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and the EC have once again met the expectations of Ghanaians and the international community. This election is ranked as one of the most free an fair in the history of the country and in sub-Saharan Africa. By this, the Commission has enhanced its credibility and prepared itself for future elections. The professional manner the elections were conducted gives every indication for a brighter future for the Commission. For this, Dr. Afari Gyan and his EC have every reason to celebrate.

For many people, the euphoria about the elections stems from the fact that the Nation was saved the pain and the financial burden of a run-off. By this, the country has saved billions of cedis that can be used in the fight against extreme destitution. The run-off in the 2000 elections was estimated to have cost the country some ¢15 billion of the tax-payers money. By satisfying the 50+1 requirement at the first round, the country has made a substantial saving for its second term in office.

For these and many other reasons, we celebrate as People and Nation. Peter Ohemeng [Political Commentator] Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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