News24

Ghana leader urges respect for vote results

2012-12-10 11:31

Accra - Ghana's John Dramani Mahama urged respect for results giving him victory in presidential polls after the opposition alleged fraud in a nation trying to uphold its image as a model African democracy.

There were no reports of trouble on the streets of the west African nation's capital Accra on Monday morning after the closely fought polls that led to mounting tension ahead of the announcement of the results late on Sunday.

Celebrations broke out after the results announcement, with hundreds of ruling party supporters gathering in the streets, blowing horns, dancing and waving flags.

"I call on all leaders of all political parties to respect the voice of the people," incumbent Mahama, only in office since the death of his predecessor in July, said in a victory speech. "The voice of the people is the voice of God."

The stakes of the election held over Friday and Saturday were especially high in a country with a booming economy fuelled partly by a new and expanding oil industry.

Results compiled by local media had early on Sunday pointed to a Mahama win, leading the opposition to strongly reject them, alleging fraud and claiming it had evidence that its candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, was the real winner.

Peaceful and transparent

According to the electoral commission, Mahama won with 50.70% of the votes cast, compared to Akufo-Addo's 47.74%. With eight candidates in the race, more than 50% was needed to avoid a second-round runoff.

Akufo-Addo's New Patriotic Party said the results announced "by the evidence do not reflect the mandate of the required majority of the Ghanaian electorate".

Party officials would meet on Tuesday to decide the way forward, it said in a statement which also called on its supporters to remain calm.

The head of the country's Peace Council, a multi-party platform set up to facilitate peaceful polls, told local radio that the electoral commission met with the two parties for more than an hour before announcing the results.

Akufo-Addo's party was given a chance to present its case, but the electoral commission found that more evidence was needed, Citi FM reported on its website.

"The agreement was that the [commission] would announce the winner while the NPP can seek the proper redress through the channels laid down as they produce further evidence to facilitate that," Emmanuel Asante told the station.

Turnout was put at more than 79%. Observers from the Commonwealth, West African bloc Ecowas and local group CODEO all said the vote appeared peaceful and transparent.