Ghana's Electoral Commission (EC) has announced that a full declaration of results within 72 hours of polls closing tomorrow, 10th December is likely.
While there are discrepancies that the EC is seeking to resolve and another 65 constituencies to be counted, unofficial tallies point towards a victory for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghana's current opposition, and its flag-bearer, Nana Akufo-Addo.
Nevertheless, it's not over until it's over.
- At the time of writing, EC Chairperson Charlotte Osei announced that the Commission has collated results from 210 of Ghana's 275 constituencies without sharing the relevant tallies. Media houses are nevertheless declaring their own breakdown of results - they place current opposition, New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the lead.
- Osei attributed delays to party officials's refusal to sign off on results from the constituency but nevertheless expects a final declaration within 72 hours.
- Campaign Pledges (NDC): Building a strong and resilient economy, improving transparent and accountable governance & provision of free NHIS subscriptions for the disabled.
- Key people to watch (NDC): JJ Rawlings, Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa, Zenator Rawlings, Ekow Spio-Garbrah, Ahwoi brothers, Ibrahim Mahama.
- Campaign Pledges (NPP): 'One District One Factory', restoration of teacher and nursing training allowances, reduction of taxes (especially on utility tariffs), issue national ID cards.
- Key people to watch (NPP) - Isaac Osei, Akoto Osei, Kennedy Agyapong, Paul Ofoko, Alan Kyeremanten.
State of Play
The day after the December 7 polls was characterised by seemingly continuous press conferences by the Electoral Commission (EC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), National Peace Council, Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO). Today (9 December) continued in a similar vein.
Around 10am this morning, EC Chairperson Charlotte Osei explained that results from 210 of 275 constituencies had been collated but did not share the tally of votes thus far. She explained that delays are due to political party agents' refusal to accept collation sheets from the constituencies without first seeing the relevant pink sheets (verififed results from individual polling stations). These 65 include - Upper East Region (2); Volta Region (1); Northern Region (25); Ashanti Region (17); Western Region (16); Brong Ahafo Region (10); Central Region (1); Eastern Region (6). She then called on parties to speak to their agents to speed up the process.
Notwithstanding the EC's silence, at the time of writing several media houses had collated results from more than 200 constituencies:
- Multimedia Group-A private media house: From 251 constituencies, Nana Akufo-Addo had 53.64% of votes while President Mahama had 44.56%.
- Graphic Communications Group- A state media conglomerate: From 240 constituencies, Nana Akufo-Addo had 52.94% of votes while President Mahama had 45.49%.
- Citi FM- A private media house: From 235 constituencies, Nana Akufo-Addo had 55.05% of votes while President Mahama had 43.37%.
An NDC Government: "Toaso"
Several new, young faces were brought in after Mahama's victory in 2012 such as: Deputy Minister of Education Samuel Okudzeto Ablakawa; Minister for Gender, Children & Social Protection Nana Oye Lithur and Minister for Employment & Labour Relations Haruna Iddrisu. They have have maintained their profiles throughout the Mahama administration and are likely to remain close to the president. It is yet to be seen whether there will be a recall of former NDC dons, the Ahwoi brothers (Ato, Kwesi and Kwamena). They have both been key members of the NDC since the creation of the party (and even before) e.g. various senior government positions, most recently with Kwesi Ahwoi being minister of the interior until the cabinet reshuffle in July 2014. Many people believe that Mahama sees them as part of the old guard and therefore sees no space for them in his administration but others argue that their years of experience cannot be ignored. Big questions will also remain over the potential fate of Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh who lost her parliamentary seat and Minister of Trade and Industry Ekow Spio-Garbrah who was brought in during the 2014 reshuffle. Another key figure will be Zenator Agyeman-Rawlings, the daughter of former president JJ Rawlings, who won her parliamentary seat in the Klottey Korle constituency for the party. She has gained a great number of very loyal supporters during her election campaign.
Outside of the conventional political fold, it is likely that Mahama will keep many of the traditional NDC supporters and financiers around. Ibrahim Mahama (brother of the president) is key amongst these figures. He is often suspected of having garnered huge personal wealth under the presidency of his brother1 and so will likely to be called on to assist when needed. Other key figures are Alfred Agbesi Woyome. A recent leak in the press showed that he paid various members of the party over US$ 750,000 between October 2010 and August 2011. Reportedly, many of the payments he made during this time went to finance the election campaigns of people who are members of Mahama's government. Nana Sam Brew Butler is another key party financier who is likely to remain in the fold of a second Mahama government. The CEO of Cenpower has won several large government contracts including the US$900 million construction of a thermal plant at Kpone.
Again, people will be asking if there will be any space for influence from former president and NDC founder JJ Rawlings in the Mahama government. He is the key stalwart in the NDC and is the reason for the party traditionally winning such huge margins in the Volta region, as that is his home region. Although he holds huge influence amongst NDC voters, he did virtually no campaigning for the NDC during this election season. At times, he has been extremely critical of members of the current administration but has shied away from criticising Mahama himself. If the perceived mismanagement and corruption continues however, we can expect these criticisms by the party founder to increase. His wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, has formed her own party - the National Democratic Party - and run on that basis.
Provisional results show that Mahama has lost 10-12% of the votes he attained in 2012.To do this he must tackle the issues that are key to the electorate urgently. A recent survey that Songhai conducted showed that key issues on the minds of voters were: job creation; eradicating corruption; healthcare and education.
Many of these voter concerns are addressed in the manifesto of the NDC. Key campaign pledges include the continuation of the current push towards improving infrastructure in all areas, especially roads, schools and hospitals/clinics. There will also be a key drive to improve good governance, end the canker of corruption in the country, drive industry and strengthen the Ghana Exim Bank.
An NPP Government: Sea Change?
A coordinator of the NPP's Eastern Region campaign team told Songhai Advisory that possible appointees of Nana Akufo-Addo's government could include Hon. Isaac Osei as the Chief of Staff, Hon. Akoto Osei as the Minister of Finance, Hajia Alima as Local Government Minister and Akoto Afriyie as Minister of Agriculture.
With regards to the economic management team, it would be unsurprising for it to be headed by running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and for it to include Yaw Osafo Marfo- a former minister of finance, Prof. Gyan Baffour- also a former deputy finance minister and Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay- former CEO of Ghana Investment Promotion Center. We would imagine that Ken Ofori Attah - former CEO of Databank - would not take up a ministerial appointment but would still be a key influencer- the same for Kennedy Agyapong-an NPP financier and MP for Assin Central. During his campaign, Akufo-Addo promised to weave young people, women and Ghanaians in the Diaspora into the fabric of his administration, so we can also expect to see a few new faces emerge too.
The NPP's manifesto promises to shift Ghana's economy away from taxation to focus more on production. Notably, it has vowed to lower the corporate tax rate from 25% to 20% as well as reducing VAT from 17.5% to 3% for SMEs. There has also been the pledge to create one factory in each of the 216 districts and establish a dam in each village of the three northern regions. Again, the party has promised to inject US$1 million in each of the 275 constituencies annually for infrastructural development .
In his bid to ensure that the fight against corruption is as efficient as possible, Akufo-Addo has promised to appoint an independent prosecutor. In a similar vein, the NPP has spoken much about scrutinising some of the large - scale power infrastructure deals that took place under the watch of President Mahama. One such contract is the Karpower deal that saw two offshore power barges from the Turkish company Karpower supplying 450MW of power to the national grid. The cost of the contract was claimed to be heavily inflated and one energy policy think tank has already called for the deal to be investigated. Along the same lines, another power deal was signed (without parliamentary approval) with the Emirati company, AMERI, to supply 10 gas turbines for an amount of US$510 million. Some estimates have said that the project could have been inflated by as much as US$290 million. Aside from the alleged inflation of the deal, there are concerns surrounding the business standing of AMERI and the quality of deal that the government is getting.
While the EC has not yet declared the official results, the supporters of the two main contenders are expectant; indeed, both Akufo-Addo and Mahama are outwardly confident of victory. The EC has up until tomorrow to declare the results as agreed by the commission and the political parties.
At this time of uncertainty, it is worth thinking through the possible scenarios:
Regardless of who comes to power, we can anticipate that litigation
will be an outcome of these elections.
- Should the NPP be declared victorious, the NDC is likely to challenge the results in some constituencies as they have already raised concerns over cases of potential over-voting. However, the NDC has said it will not proceed with litigation if it it is unlikely to influence the overall result.
- If the EC goes against the current provisional results and declares in favour of the NDC, it is almost definite that the NPP will begin putting together a case to legally challenge the results. This would be based on the parallel collation they have done that they believe shows that their candidate won with a large majority. However, were this scenario to arise, the likelihood of political-related violence is high, as NPP supporters, from the top brass to the rank and file, have been explicit in their belief of having won. Furthermore, given that the legal process in the aftermath of the 2012 elections did not produce desired results for the NPP, coupled with the emergence of the unprecedented judicial scandal uncovered by undercover investigations last year, there are arguably doubts in the minds of NPP supporters over the impartiality of the courts.
- A victory for the NPP: This is the most likely scenario in view of the results which have already emerged. Should this happen in a timely fashion, we can anticipate that the transition will be smooth, the security situation will be contained and it will present a boost to investor confidence because of the perceived low political risk and business-friendly policies that an-led NPP government is likely to implement. From a policy standpoint, an NPP government is likely to pay attention to driving the economy by laying emphasis on production and reducing taxes. In terms of governance, the perennial judgement debt saga involving Woyome will be a priority in recouping the US$ 12.1 million that was paid to the businessman. It is also possible that there will be investigations into the business dealings of the brother of the current president, Ibrahim Mahama, whose substantial personal wealth has been reported in the public domain.
- A less likely scenario would be a victory for the NDC. In this event, the security risk will increase as NPP supporters are likely to seek redress on the streets, particularly in the flashpoint areas in the urban poles of Accra, Tamale and Kumasi. Areas within cities which are home to different ethnic groups will become a focal point for unrest, as political party supporters may target different ethnic groups which are typically associated with one of the two main parties.
- Run-Off: This is the least likely scenario given the results which have been emerging. It would mean that there is no clear victor bearing 50+1% of the votes. If a run-off were declared, it would imply significant resources in terms of logistics and finance and the protracted uncertainty would also elevate the security risk in the country.
Edited by Managing Partners, Kissy Agyeman-Togobo & Nana Adu Ampofo.