Special Issue: Ghana’s 2012 Elections
Ghana’s 2012 Elections: Reaffirming Africa’s model democracy?
Although still under a cloud of uncertainty following the appeal filed at the Supreme Court by the opposition National Patriotic Party, which protests the results of Ghana’s sixth post-transition election as declared by the Electoral Commission (EC), the significance of the 2012 presidential elections point to both the resilience of Ghanaian democratic consolidation and the risks embedded in the politics of a country widely acclaimed as a model of democracy in West Africa, a subregion marked by a history of instability and conflict. While the four articles in this special issue of Kujenga Amani note the ways in which electoral reforms and the most recent elections have reinforced Ghana’s democratic credentials, they nonetheless point to a few significant problems that need to be addressed to prevent any future reversals. Such problems include the persistence of some electoral malpractices linked to voting by minors, the influence of money, and a set of contradictions in the security arrangements. The five contributors also note the problems with the newly introduced Biometric Voters Registration (BVR) equipment that either malfunctioned or was poorly operated, creating adverse consequences for the registration and voting exercises. The lessons from Ghana’s most recent elections call for cautious celebration; democracy in the country is still a work-in-progress, thereby requiring that close attention be paid to addressing issues of inclusive citizenship and governance, socio-economic inequalities, security and integrity of the electoral process. This special issue of Kujenga Amani on Ghana’s 2012 Elections will showcase one article weekly over the next month.
This essay examines the connection between elections and democracy, drawing on the case of Ghana. It evaluates the role played by civil society and the Ghanaian Electoral Commission (EC) before and during the election and analyzes the impact of the death of President Atta Mills on the electoral fortunes of his National Democratic Congress (NDC). The decision of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to go to court to contest the outcome of the elections is also examined.
The 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections took place in an entirely different context than those before them. This paper explores new initiatives undertaken by the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana and how they enhanced the credibility of the electoral process.
This essay focuses on an issue related to the Ghanaian party system and the consolidation of democracy: the transition of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) from a personalistic party under the stranglehold of former president Jerry John Rawlings to a formal, autonomous party, bringing greater stability to the two-party system in Ghana.
While many attribute the generally peaceful nature of elections to the efficiency of the Ghanaian Electoral Commission (EC), it is important to emphasize that other state institutions, such as the security forces, have played significant roles in ensuring the consolidation of democracy in the country. This paper provides some insights into the specific roles played by the security forces during the December 2012 elections in Ghana.