In a country where electoral results are always disputed by the runner up or losing side, the 2012 General Election could be called free and fair. Irrespective of what the New Patriotic Party thinks, the just ended election is another plus for democratic dispensation in Ghana.
But it wasn't without certain peculiarities.
Compared to the 2008 General election, this years voting exercise registered less and less instances of political clashes, violence, and controversy. The NPP's claim of vote rigging in a number of NDC strongholds is at best speculative and contrary to the constitutional opinion of the Ghana Electoral Commission, which had being refereeing elections since 1992 (including the 2000 and 2004 elections which the NPP won).
Voter turnout was also impressive; a 79.43 percentage, which goes to show the growing political awareness of the Ghanaian voter and his/her electoral interest.
Coming events never fail to cast their shadows and so was it with Election 2012. Flashback to July 2012 when the biometric registering was started and being carried out by the Electoral Commission, tension was high and both major parties were perpetually suspecting the other of manipulating the process to gain undue advantage. The rolling effect of this was evident in the December 7 and 8 General Election.
First to go bad was the incumbent party which came out to question the secureness of the biometric verification process before voting, when it observed initial results favouring the New Patriotic Party. (Add to that the breakdown of verification machines in some parts of the country causing voting to enter a second day.)
Their presidential candidate, the incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, even came out to suggest that voters should be allowed to vote without the biometric verification. Such a shame! Such an affront to the electoral process!
The NPP followed suit by falsely and mischievously declaring itself winner of the presidential election in readiness to suggest subsequent rigging claims as soon as the NDC shot into the lead during further counting and cruised home with a winning percentage of 50.70%.
Burning of ballot boxes in a few polling centres and the assault of two election officials were some of the downright ugly happenings during the election.
All the same, Election 2012 was generally free and fair, and kudos to the Ghana Electoral Commission, the various political parties, and the citizenry that made it so.
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