Paul Samasumo – Vatican City
In a statement released Wednesday evening, signed by President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Archbishop Philip Naameh, appealed for post-election calm even as the Bishops commend Ghanaians for generally conducting themselves peacefully in the just-ended polls. The Bishops also congratulated contesting candidates for offering themselves to serve the people of Ghana.
Generally successful and peaceful
Nevertheless, in the aftermath of the results, there have been some post-election tension and incidents. At least five election-related deaths were reported during the polls. The GCBC President and Archbishop of Tamale, also called upon the leadership of Ghana’s two major political parties and their supporters to exercise restraint and avoid all forms of violence.
“Despite the success and peaceful conduct of the elections, we have also noted with concern the loss of lives and injuries suffered by some people in constituencies such as Awutu Senya East, Odododiodio, Ablekuma Central, Bono East and Savelugu,” said Archbishop Naameh. He continued, “In every competition, there are bound to be winners and losers, we wish to call on all stakeholders to exhibit maturity in accepting both defeat and victory. In this way, reactions to any of the two conditions would be measured, modest and charitable towards one another,” the Bishops counsel.
The main Opposition leader has not conceded defeat
On 7 December, Ghanaians voted in general and parliamentary elections. Incumbent President Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has since been declared the winner with 51.3 per cent of the vote. His rival, former President, John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) got 47.3 per cent of the vote. Mahama is yet to concede and has accused the Electoral Commission of presiding over a “fraudulent outcome.” There is pressure on Mahama to concede or take his case to court.
Appeal to the Electoral Commission
“Having monitored recent developments on the political scene after the declaration of the results, we wish to humbly appeal to all who have issues with the results to kindly address these issues through the legitimate procedures for redress,” said the Bishops’ statement.
The Bishops have, however, also appealed to the country’s Electoral Commission to attend to concerns raised by aggrieved parties expeditiously.
“We equally wish to urge the Electoral Commission to keep engaging all the political parties to ensure that all outstanding electoral issues and grievances are dealt with in the interest of the country,” urged the President of the GCBC.
Eye on growing COVID-19 numbers
An EU preliminary election report observed that the ruling party’s candidate, President Akufo-Addo, was a beneficiary of biased reporting, in his favour, especially by state-aligned media.
Local observers hope the country’s authorities will not be distracted by post-election matters and neglect the growing COVID-19 numbers just as the economy is reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.