ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has won a second four-year term in office, the election commission said on Wednesday, following a tightly contested vote that was tainted by violence in which five people died.
Akufo-Addo fended off a hard-fought challenge from his predecessor winning 51.59% of the vote against old rival John Mahama with 47.37%. Mahama’s party said it rejected the results, calling the election “flawed” and “discredited.”
Akufo-Addo has promised to implement a $17 billion programme to boost growth in one of West Africa’s largest economies. The coronavirus pandemic hit the price of oil and cocoa exports this year, resulting in the first quarterly contraction in nearly 40 years for Ghana, one of Africa’s largest gold producers.
He will be under pressure to rein in government spending that has pushed the debt-to-GDP ratio past 70% and prompted warnings from the International Monetary Fund.
“My immediate task is to continue the process of reversing the effect COVID-19 might have had on our economy and our lives and put the nation on course for a full economic recovery and development,” Akufo-Addo said.
Supporters danced, screamed and waved flags at a conference hall in the capital Accra.
“There has been a lot of contentions and tensions from both the NPP and the NDC. But I am glad it has ended in peace,” said voter Amadu Salisu.
The Ghanaian Police Service said it had recorded over 60 incidents of violence since the morning of the election, resulting in five deaths and marring Ghana’s recent track record of mostly peaceful elections.
A European Union observer mission said the vote was well organised but “unregulated political finance, misuse of state resources and numerous instances of vote-buying resulted in an unlevel playing field.”
Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Edward McAllister and Grant McCool
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