Timeline: As Ghanaians go to the polls

Ghanaians will go to the polls today, Wednesday, the 7th of December 2016 to decide who leads the West African nation for the next four years.

In an election, except in countries running a two-party system, there are several presidential candidates gunning for the presidency. In Ghana, it is no different. Some of the candidates include, current president, John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party, Ivor Greenstreet of the Convention People’s Party, Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party, Edward Mahama of the People’s National Convention, former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of the National Democratic Party, and Jacob Osei Yeboah, an independent candidate.

But no matter how many the candidates may be, the elections focuses on the top two. For the Ghanaian elections, the leading candidates are: the incumbent, John Dramani Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition, NPP. Many polls show that both men are neck-in-neck as election approaches so no one really knows at this point.

However, below, we have traced how elections have been held in the former Gold Coast since November 3, 1992 till date to give you an idea:

November 3, 1992: Jerry John Rawlings of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, a coalition of the National Democratic Congress, the National Convention Party and Every Ghanaian Living Everywhere got 2,323,135 votes to beat Albert Adu Boahen of the New Patriotic Party who polled 1,204,764.

December 7, 1996: Jerry Rawlings of the National Democratic Congress polled 4,099,758 votes to beat John Kuffour of the New Patriotic Party who had 2,834,878 votes.

December 7, 2000: The 2000 election ended in a run-off, as both John Kuffour of the New Patriotic Party, and John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress were neck-in-neck at the first ballot. At the first ballot Kuffour polled 3,131,739 votes (48.17%) as against Mills’ 2,895,575 (44.54%). In the run-off having only both candidates, Kuffour got 3,631,263 (56.9%) as against Mills’ 2,750,124 (43.1%).

The 2000 election also marked the first transfer of power via the ballot box in the country’s history.

December 7, 2004: It was another election where John Kuffour and Atta Mills were the top candidates. However, there was no run-off this year, as Kuffour polled 4,524,074 (52.45%) while Mills’ had 3,850,368 (44.64%).

December 7, 2008: The 2008 elections remain the closest election in Ghana’s history to date as the eventual winner John Atta Mills won by a margin of less than one per cent – it was that close.

In the first round, Mills of the National Democratic Congress got 4,056,634 (47.92%) votes, while Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party got 4,159,439 (49.13%). Since no candidate had over 50% of the votes, a run-off was held. The run-off held on December 28, 2008 but due to logistics problems, the Tain District alone had its run-off election on 2 January 2009 due to problems with distributing ballots. After all votes were collated Mills polled 4,521,032 (50.23%) as against Akufo-Addo’s 4,480,446 (49.77%).

December 7, 2012: The 2012 election provided a familiar face yet again – Akufo-Addo. But this time he was facing a different candidate – John Dramani Mahama. Mahama was Vice President to Atta Mills who died in office in July 2012. After just five months in office, Mahama signified his intention to run for office, and Akufo-Addo was his main challenger.

At the polls, incumbent, Mahama got 5,574,761 votes (50.70%) while Akufo-Addo got 5,248,898 votes (47.74%).

June 29, 2016: The speaker of the Ghanaian parliament Edward Korbly Joe Adjaho urged his colleagues to give legal backing to shift the election date from December 7, to the first Monday in November every year, as a tentative election date to provide at least a two month gap between the election and the swearing-in date. The suggestion was given as the one month transition period has proved insufficient for smooth transition, particularly in instances where there is a run-off, as was the case in 2000 and 2008.

July 21, 2016: The Ghanaian parliament voted 125 in favour and 95 against for the election to be moved from December 7 to November 7, following a request by the country’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Marita Brew-Appiah. For the election to be shifted, a two-third majority was needed per the number of those who voted, in this case 184.

December 7, 2016: Will Nana Akufo-Addo, a son of a former Ghanaian president (Edward Akufo-Addo) be lucky at the third-time of asking or will incumbent president, John Mahama retain his position?

January 7, 2017: The winner of the election and President-elect will be sworn in.

What say ye Ghanaians? The ball is in your court.

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