The tight outcome in Ghana’s elections is down to perceptions of corruption, and could lead to a parliamentary majority for the Opposition. The pressures this places on the executive may haunt Akufo-Addo’s second term. But it could provide the oversight that has hitherto been lacking.
Ahead of the just concluded Ghanaian elections, a strange and fascinated phenomenon emerged: the Opposition NDC party consistently beat the ruling NPP party in virtually all large online polls and sentiment surveys. Yet, most professional researchers and pollsters were predicting the opposite outcome: a handy defeat of the Opposition, often by a roughly 10% margin.
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IMANI, the organisation in which I hold an honorary executive position, was curious about this and drilled down further. We discovered that the swing regions were actually split between the two political parties suggesting a much tighter race than the pollsters and researchers were predicting.
On 9th December, IMANI’s premonitions, widely shared with the public, were confirmed by the Electoral Commission (EC), the independent constitutional body tasked with running Ghanaian elections, when it declared the sitting President the winner of the polls. The declaration can only be overturned by the Supreme Court, which in 2012 refused a similar invitation by the current ruling NPP party. Given that the majority of judges then and now had been appointed by the NPP, the restraint set an almost impossible bar for annulments of presidential elections.