Ghana: "He Has Made Everything Beautiful In His Time" : President Elect Nana Akufo-Addo Delivers Sober And Composed Acceptance Speech Following Announcement Of Victory

  • Nana Akufo-Addo was declared victor of Ghana's closely-fought presidential race on Friday 9 December 2016 at 20.50 by Charlotte Osei, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission

Acceptance Speech

  • Quoting Scripture, Akufo-Addo said: "He has made everything beautiful in His time" before admitting that "there's never been a more humbling moment in [his] life"
  • He thanked the Ghanaian people for their "massive show of support" and "for the confidence [they] have reposed in [him] and [his] party"
  • Makes a solemn pledge: "I will not let you down and will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations"
  • Thanked members of his family for 'standing shoulder to shoulder with him'
  • Commends the Ghanaian voter for orderly manner in which they exercised democratic franchise
  • "The president of Ghana is president for every single Ghanaian"
  • Vows to "put Ghana back on the path to progress and prosperity"
  • Congratulated the EC under Charlotte Osei's watch for conducting 'a good election' as well as the security services

Conciliatory Words From Mahama

  • Shortly after the acceptance speech by Akufo-Addo, the outgoing President John Mahama paid thanks to the Ghanaian people, his family, the EC, his supporters and God
  • He outlined that serving Ghana had been "one of the greatest privileges of [his] life"
  • Reminded the people that they "are all ultimately on the same side, on the side of Ghana"
  • Implored Ghanaians to "ensure that progress continues: it takes time and dedication"

British High Commission: "Elections come and go but nations endure"

  • British High Commissioner to Ghana Jon Benjamin described the elections as "fantastically-well organised"
  • He said that the elections were conducted in "an exemplary manner"
  • Emphasised the "deep respect" he has for outgoing president Mahama and wished him the very best for the future
  • Extended congratulations of the British government to Ghana and highlighted the key areas of cooperation between the UK and Ghana: defence, economic cooperation, law enforcement, trade and investment

Election Results Summary:

  • 15 million voters
  • Four constitutences excluded (counting incomplete but outcome won't tip the balance)
  • 10 million: total votes cast
  • 166,000 rejected votes
  • 68.62% voter turnout
  • Votes Won by Candidates:

    • Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP: 5,716,026 (53.85% of valid votes cast)
    • John Dramani Mahama, NDC: 4,713,277
    • Paa Kwesi Ndoum, PPP: 105,682
    • Ivor Greenstreet, CPP: 25,000
    • Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, NDP: 16,878
  • Mahama calls Akufo-Addo to concede defeat, reportedly offers to support the new administration; Akufo-Addo calls this "[fine] statesmanship, thanks Mahama for service to Ghana
  • Other presidential aspirants: Ivor Greenstreet, Nana Agyeman Rawlings, Jacob Osei Yeboah: also congratulated the new president for which he expressed thanks
  • Political maturity demonstrated as Ghanaians vote out incumbent National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the nation is at peace
  • "You may win, you may lose, but a country must move on", General Secretary of the NDC
  • Scenes of jubilation up and down the country
  • Key Policy Pledges: '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.

Third Time Lucky: Nana Akufo-Addo: Ghana's New President

Brief Bio: Seventy-two year old Akufo-Addo contested the presidency in Ghana for the third time as flag-bearer of the NPP (he also lost the primary elections in 1998). He has held a number of political posts including as a member of Parliament, Minister of Justice and Foreign Minister, and is a member of the Akyem (Akan) ethnic group. He won the primaries to contest this election with a landslide victory of over 94% against seven other candidates.

Policy Objectives: In reflection of the NPP's manifesto, the new government is likely to focus on shifting 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 .

People to Watch: 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.

Good Governance: 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.

Outlook

The outcome of these elections is the result which emerged as the most likely scenario in the immediate aftermath of the polls. Going forwards 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, as will probes into other questionable dealings of public figures. Akufo-Addo spoke in a conciliatory manner during his acceptance speech, and was keen to communicate to Ghanaians the extent to which he is poised to be the president not just of a select few, but of the entire nation. Under this new dispensation, we can expect there to be continued close relations with traditional trading partners, notably the UK.

Footnote

[1] http://sankofaonline.com/archives/20965

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