**The stakes are high as Ghana heads to the polls on Monday December 7th. President Nana Akufo Addo is banking on his achievements for re-election, whilst his main challenger, former President John Mahama is yearning for a come-back. **
Africanews spoke to Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director for the Institute of Democratic Governance and Kojo Asante, Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Center for Democratic Development, Ghana.
Ignatius Annor: Dr. Akwetey, let me first begin with you to talk about the preparedness of the electoral commission even when they had to clean up the voter’s register few months to the general elections which generated a lot of uproar in Ghana.
Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey: "In terms of the efficiency, in terms of compilation of the register and following the procedures, they have even published the voters register for the first time on their website, although they have had to pull it down for the time being. So I think they are pretty confident that they have done everything in time. Apparently, they have distributed ballot papers and all the materials that are need.’’
Ignatius Annor: Mr. Asante, let me come to you and ask what the stakes are especially as a former president seeks to make a come-back to the presidency?
Kojo Asante: There’s a context of records. I mean these two parties have been dominant under our fourth republic and they’ve gotten to a stage where both of them have featured long enough for the citizens to be able to compare their records. So at the end it’s going to really be a contest of who the populace trusts to be able to deliver on the promises that are been made.’’
Ignatius Annor: There are 12 candidates contesting but with two leading figures. What are the chances for the sitting president and the former president and leader of the opposition party?
Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey: You know, the historical trend is that every president elected in the fourth republic of the two parties usually gets two terms. It was the 2012 elections that was the first attempt to unseat the government of the NDC, the elections that John Mahama won, and then it went to court. It was an eight month long adjudication. That was the first attempt to give a governing party one term in office with his presidency. It did not work out. Both presidents might be in their final political race, legacies beckoning, they might all retire. Although President Mahama is younger, I think he’s been given three terms to run. 2012, 2016 and this is 2020. Whether he will get 2024, a fourth time run is something that will depend on so many factors.’’
Ignatius Annor: Finally, Mr. Asante, what do you hope to see during December 7th and indeed after the polls?
Kojo Asante: Where we are concerned about of course is the Volta region which is the stronghold of the opposition, not necessarily because of the fact that it is the opposition area, but it is the secessionist activities that we are now confronted with and the security services efforts to deploy in that area. And already we have gotten some sort of pushbacks from the chiefs of the area.’’