Ghanaians will vote in the presidential and parliamentary election due to be held today.
With two old rivals facing off in Ghana’s presidential election amid familiar economic woes, many voters are paying more attention to a new element in the political mix – the first ever female vice-presidential candidate for a major party.
Former Justice minister and Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua is among Commonwealth Observer Group members monitoring the Ghana polls.
West Africa’s second-largest economy has one of the highest levels of women-owned businesses in the world, yet just 13 per cent of parliamentary seats are held by women.
Former education minister Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman hopes that the decision of Ghana’s main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to nominate her as its candidate for vice-president will inspire other women to enter politics.
“Many are those who are now more energised to vote, thanks to the momentous decision,” Opoku-Agyeman, 69, said on the campaign trail in July after her nomination, promising to hold the door open for other women.
She and the NDC’s presidential candidate John Mahama, a former president of Ghana, are running against the incumbent, President Nana Akufo-Addo, and Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, a former banker, of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Commonwealth Observer Group (COG), whose members are drawn from various Commonwealth countries with backgrounds ranging from political, electoral, civil society and human rights as well as legal fields, was invited by the Ghana Electoral Commission to observe the poll.
The group is headed by former President of the East African Court of Justice, Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja. The team started to arrive in Accra on December 3 and will be deployed to polling stations to observe pre-poll preparations, voting day and the results processes.
The group has received briefings from the electoral commission, political parties, police, and civil societies.