Ghana’s voters flock to polling stations in an election on jobs and honesty

An electoral official transports a ballot box to a Polling station in Kyebi, eastern Ghana. © Photo: Sunday Alamba/AP/SIPA

Millions of Ghanaians have been queueing to vote since the early hours of Wednesday morning after a lengthy and often bitter campaign dominated by economic questions.

Electoral officials predict a record turn out, perhaps over 80% of the 15.7 million voters. That’s well above the average 70% turnout seen in recent elections. With an extra million votes in contention, this could produce some surprise results.

President John Mahama is betting that the grand projects — roads, hospitals and airports — showcased in the last few weeks will convince voters that state investments will soon start to boost the flagging economy, estimated to be growing at 3.3% this year.

Opposition presidential candidate Nana Addo Akufo Addo has been pushing a simpler message: Ghana needs political change and jobs. Opposition supporters waving party flags and rotating their hands — a sign that they back the call for change — lined the roads into Kumasi on the eve of the elections.

Voting started slowly in Kumasi and Accra amid reports of logistical delays in delivery of ballots and ballot boxes. There are also concerns about the reliability of the biometric machines which all voters have to use to confirm that they are on the electoral register. Several problems emerged with the machines in two days of early voting last week.

Read the rest of this article on The Africa Report, a publication of Groupe Jeune Afrique.