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04.03.2012 General News

“AN AFRICAN ELECTION” scores high marks with critics

By Ghana| Joy News TV
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Some political and social critics have given high marks for the documentary on Ghana's 2008 elections, “An African Election”, directed by the Swiss film maker, Jarreth Merz.

The critics who spoke to Joy News TV at the premiere of the documentary at the International Conference Centre applauded the film maker for his ability to vividly capture the urgency of Ghana's precarious 2008 presidential elections.

The documentary is said to have taken Ghana's democratic credentials a few notches higher.

"An African Election" concisely documents events of the 2008 general elections and presents it in a 90 minute real life documentary film.

The film portrays to the world how an African country, Ghana in this case, was able to successfully hold a closely run an election, take it to the very edge, and still survive what could have resulted in civil strife elsewhere on the continent.

The film exposes some of the never-before-seen, nitty-gritties of political electioneering in Africa (Ghana) and also captures some of the intrigues of political campaigns, especially that of the two major political parties in Ghana, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the National Patriotic Party (NPP) who led in that election.

According to the Director of the film, Jarreth Merz, he used the 2008 presidential elections in Ghana as the backdrop for this documentary that takes a behind the scenes look at the crucial presidential elections, from campaign through voting to declaration of results and how the results were accepted by party faithful, the electorate and the candidates.

Mr. Merz said the film was intended to show a success story - "an example of how Ghana had made democracy better by letting the people decide".

Asked why Ghana's former president, Jerry Rawlings and the NDC seemed to have received much prominence in the documentary, Mr. Merz said as much as he tried to have equal representation, accessibility to the political leadership was not the same on all sides of the divide.

He further noted that, the film, more importantly for him, was not about the NPP and NDC, but was made for a broader audience.

He added that the most important aspect of the film was to show that democracy can be very fragile and should not be taken for granted.

In later interviews with Joy News TV, some members of the public who watched the premiere of the documentary were excited that it showed the world that Ghana went to the brink during the 2008 elections, but was able to pull itself back largely without the need for international intervention.

The film according to others also gives a sense of how passionately the citizens of Ghana believe in democracy and how much it means to them.

The 2008 presidential contest was the fifth since multi-party democracy was reintroduced in 1992 after a series of military regimes and failed attempts at entrenching multi-party democracy in the country since the days of Independence.

The two leading parties, the NDC and the NPP have since the start of the fourth republic successfully taken turns at holding political office in Ghana.

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