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Let Democracy Rule!

Dec 30, 2008, 5:39 AM

We sincerely pray that the outcome of the elections in Ghana will not be disputed. For too long we have seen African elections marred by fighting and violence. According to the Reuters news agency, the opposition candidate John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) held a narrow lead in the closely fought presidential election run-off on Monday. This statement was made on the country's top private broadcaster Joy FM. The radio, citing certified returns from polling stations from 205 of the 230 national constituencies that voted on Sunday, put Mills ahead as both contenders' camps threatened not to accept some results because of alleged "irregularities." Joy FM said Mills had 51.35 percent, against 48.65 percent for Nana Akufo-Addo of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The question of irregularities is no doubt to the forefront in everybody's mind despite the fact that for many year's Ghana has been the envy of many African nations because of the independence and thorough approach of its electoral commission. Reports in the New African magazine monitored by The Point in recent weeks however suggest that the commission had begun to falter on this occasion.

Unlike the peaceful December 7 first round, which was widely praised by international observers but failed to produce an outright winner, election monitors reported cases of disorder, intimidation and even violence in several regions on Sunday.

Police said this included attempted snatching of ballot boxes and several arrests were made.

For many years Ghana has been a bastion of successful democracy in our volatile region. In the last few days the United States top diplomat for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, praised Ghana as a "model of democracy" because of its repeated successful elections. She however told the BBC she was concerned about the reported election incidents. For this reason we pray for two things.

1. That the loser of the election will accept the decision of the people of Ghana and do so peacefully and without complaint. And 2. That there are no "irregularities" for the loser to cite in their loss. If this happens it will be a proud day not only for Ghana, West Africa and Africa; but for democracy all over the world.

"The world must be made safe for democracy"

Woodrow Wilson