Ghanaians will be going to the polls on December 7, 2012 to elect a new president and parliament. The elections come after the death of President John Atta Mills in July 2012. In addition to John Dramani Mahama, former vice-president and initial replacement for the late President Mills, seven other candidates are contesting the presidency. In late November all eight signed a peace pact pledging to ensure a peaceful electoral process. Ghana has the reputation of being one of Africa’s few stable democracies. However, the previous election in late 2008 was marred by a number of violent incidents. As a result, a conference was held in Accra the following year to analyze events and try to establish new standards and practices for African electoral commissions.
The signing of the peace pact, known as the Kumasi Declaration, was witnessed by two former presidents, Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor. With less than a week to go, there are fears of violence between different groups of supporters, mainly those backing the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its candidate John Dramani Mahama and those backing the largest opposition party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), whose candidate is Nana Akuffo-Addo.
The Odododiodio constituency, in the capital Accra, witnessed clashes in August which left about a dozen people injured. They included Ursula Owusu, a senior female activist with the opposition NPP. She had been accused of trying to stop supporters of the ruling NDC from registering to vote.
Police had to intervene to restore calm following clashes between the supporters of the two parties. The Odododiodio constituency is one of several areas identified by Ghanaian authorities as potential flashpoints in next Friday’s election.