Interesting Facts & Figures As Ghana Holds Presidential Election

Incumbent President, Nana Akuffo-Ado (right) and former President, John Mahama (left)

On Monday, 7th of December, West Africa’s second-biggest economy, Ghana will elect its President.

The election, the 8th consecutive one since 1992, has 12 candidates contesting but has been limited to a 2-horse race between former President, John Dramani Mahama and incumbent, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was the President of Ghana between 2012 and 2016, before losing to current President, Akufo-Addo. Akufo-Addo is running under the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Seventeen million (17m) voters have registered for the election, up by 2million in 2016. There are now 33,000 polling stations across the country, up from 28,000 in the last election.

Ghana’s previous seven elections have produced five Presidents.

History of Leadership

Ghana has a rich political history, from its independence in 1957. After going through years of military dictatorship, following the coup that ejected Kwame Nkrumah in 1966, the country returned back to democracy in 1969.

Between 1969 and 1972, there were three Presidents including Edward Akufo-Addo, Nana Akufo-Addo’s father who was deposed in 1972 by the military.

Jerry John Rawlings took control of the government in 1979, after a coup that deposed Lt.Gen Fred Akuffo. He handed power to Hilla Limann in the same year before deposing him in 1981. Rawlings led the country between 1981 and 1992 as a military ruler before conducting an election that saw to his emergence as a democratic President in the same year.

He ruled Ghana for 8 years as a democratic President before being replaced by John Kuffour in the year 2000.

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Kuffour ruled Ghana for eight years between 2000 and 2008. He was replaced by John Atta-Mills.

Between Akufo-Addo and Mahama

Akufo-Addo, 76, Christian, a lawyer and economist contested three times before becoming President. In 2008, when he vied against late former President, Atta-Mills, he won 49.1% of the votes, but it wasn’t enough to see him through. Atta-Mills won the run-off and became President before his demise in 2012. He was replaced by then Vice President, Mahama, 62, and a Communications strategist.

Akufo-Addo, in his second attempt at Presidency in 2012 faced Mahama and lost narrowly. He secured 47.7% of total votes while Mahama garnered 50.7% of the votes to become President.

Mahama embarked on a well-acknowledged infrastructural development but was hard done by flailing prices in the commodity market where Ghana has a large base, due to its huge gold and cocoa productions.

Akufo-Addo, son of a former President and a one-time critic of late former President, Rawlings, accused Mahama’s government of being corrupt and wasteful. In 2016, he contested against Mahama again and was third-time lucky in his Presidential bid. He won 53.8% of the votes against Mahama’s 44.4%.

Campaigns of Endless Promise

In 2016, Akufo-Addo ran with the campaign promise of abolishing fees in high schools; ensuring each district has a hospital; ensuring each district has a factory; cutting corporate taxes; establishing a special prosecutor against corruption and election for local government representatives.

Of all these promises made by Akufo-Addo, he’s been successful with the abolishment of fees in Ghanaian high schools. The number of students staying in the classroom after the 9th grade has increased. This has further heaped pressure on the system, with a double-track system now in place, meaning, students are in groups and go to classes in intervals of two months.

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Read: Mahama, Akuffo-Ado Go Toe-to-Toe As Ghana’s Election Draws Nearer

He has built 28 new factories, revived 48 and at least 94 are said to be under construction. Ghanaians feel he hasn’t done much in that regard.

In the health sector, 88 of Ghana’s 216 districts have no hospital and he has been blamed for not keeping up to that promise too.

Akufo-Addo’s strong stance against corruption during his campaign in 2016 has been under the radar. He appointed a Prosecutor in 2018, two years after he won the election, but the prosecutor resigned in November 2020, citing political interference. He also described the President as the “Mother Serpent of Corruption”.

Akufo-Addo’s corruption rating has not been helped by their new point in the Corruption Index by Transparency International.

While he has reduced taxes on small and micro enterprises, there are many diplomatic problems with foreign business owners, with well documented issues with Nigerian business owners especially.

Akufo-Addo promised to give $1m every year to Ghana’s 275 constituencies but did not achieve the target.

Mahama, known as a lover of infrastructure, generally tagged second to Kwame Nkrumah in that aspect, has also made a host of campaign promises.

In the health sector, he has promised free primary health care, preventive care and health promotion and wellness. He has also promised to help reduce the maternal mortality rate in the country by 50%.

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The former President says he will build new hospitals and universities, in addition to 20,000 low-income houses in an infrastructure drive. He also says he will abolish the Double-Track Educational system of Akufo-Addo’s government.

In a campaign tagged the ‘Big Push’, Mahama says he has a $10bn infrastructure plan to reposition Ghana’s economy.

Akufo-Addo, on his part, said he plans a $17bn post-pandemic recovery plan for Ghana’s economy.

The incumbent, still battling to convince Ghanaians that he’s the man of the people, after largely failing to keep up with campaign promises, has strong opposition in Mahama.

The former President, known as Mr. Dumsor (on & off) for the electricity shortage faced by Ghanaians when he was in power, hopes to latch on to his political popularity and the incumbent President’s failings.

His party, the NDC has produced 3 of Ghana’s last 5 Presidents.

Ghanaians will also elect the 275 members of Parliament in Monday’s election.


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