Ghana’s election commission announced Sunday night that the West African nation’s president won re-election, though the main opposition party says it has “credible evidence” the results were manipulated. In a statement streamed live on the Internet, Electoral Commission Chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan declared “John Dramani Mahama president-elect” after securing 50.7% of the vote. Nana Akufo-Addo, the candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), garnered 47.7% of the vote, according to the commission.
“We must celebrate together as Ghanaians and refrain from anything that will derail the peace and unity we have enjoyed over the years,” Mahama told supporters after the result was announced. But reiterating claims made earlier that the vote had been “manipulated,” the New Patriotic Party issued a statement it has “credible evidence (that) undermines the integrity of the electoral process and the results.”
“Substantial discrepancies have been discovered from results from coalition centers when compared with the official tally,” the party said on its website. “Considering the closeness of the polls, this error is very significant and goes to the heart of the credibility of the results.”
Ghanaians voted Friday and Saturday for a president and 275 parliamentary seats. According to the government’s website, nearly 11 million citizens — or about 80% of registered voters — participated. Mahama is a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Preliminary results reported by Ghanaian news outlets indicated Mahama was narrowly leading Akufo-Addo, the son of a former president. That contradicted what NPP General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie had said Saturday night, when he claimed Akufo-Addo had won the presidency with 51% of the vote.
The discrepancy prompted hundreds of NPP supporters to hit the streets Sunday to protest what their leaders describe as election fraud. Dressed in party T-shirts, they marched to the nation’s Electoral Commission office chanting, “We want peace,” according to the state-run Ghana News Agency. “The results have been manipulated on so many levels,” party spokesman Yaw Buaben Asamoa said.