Let’s consolidate democratic credentials – Mahama urges ahead of polls


16326639-295President John Mahama has urged voters and the elections management machinery for tomorrow’s general elections to work towards the peaceful execution of the polls.

In a national address on the state broadcaster, GTV, on Tuesday, the president said successful polls on Wednesday, December 7 is every Ghanaian’s civic responsibility and must not be taken lightly.

“The way we conduct ourselves in this election will show to the world that Ghana has come of age,” he admonished.

The stakes are high in tomorrow’s election as the president’s reelection bid on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) meets with Nana Akufo-Addo-led opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). The NPP will be hoping to win power after two unsuccessful attempts.

This would be the seventh general elections since Ghana returned to multi-party democracy under the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution. Apart from electing a president from a lineup of seven presidential candidates, voters will also elect legislators for 275 constituencies nationwide.

The Convention Peoples Party (CPP), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), National Democratic Party (NDP), the People’s National Convention (PNC) and a private candidate, Joseph Osei Yeboah are also contesting the presidential elections.

Although calls for peaceful elections have heightened ahead of the polls following clashes between the supporters of the two main contenders – NDC and NPP – the president is confident that just like the previous elections, Ghana will emerge stronger after December 7.

“I believe in the strength our institutions,” the president said.
Below is the transcript of the president’s address to the nation Tuesday evening.

‘After six successful elections, we are on a cusp of a seventh We have arrived at another defining moment in our history. The way we conduct ourselves in this democratic exercise will show to the world that Ghana’s democracy has come of age.

‘We have led the rest of Africa in the liberation struggle and have been the shining light of pan-Africanism and pride in our African heritage. And we’ve also been through decades of instability.

‘Since 1992 we have blazed the trail of a return to constitutional rule and democratic governance and have become the champions of the rule and respect for human rights.

‘We benefited from the democratic dividend with an economy that has grown positively over the last 24 years. Regular, peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections are a fundamental component of every good democracy. The moment is here that we must consolidate our democratic credentials and demonstrate to the rest of the world that Ghana ranks among the best when it comes to the quality of our governance.

‘My brothers and sisters, tomorrow is election day the seventh of December, 2016, all is ready for a successful election. It is your civic responsibility to vote. Let everyone exercise their franchise in deciding who governs our dear country over the next four years.

‘The Electoral Commission and all who are associated with the conduct of the elections have expended tireless effort to bring us to this stage. Much now rest on our collective shoulders as citizens of this great nation.

Securing a peaceful election will rest heavily on how we conduct ourselves. I believe in the strength our democracy, and I am confident that Ghana will emerge from tomorrow’s polls even stronger and more respected among the comity of nations.

‘I believe in the strength our institutions to undertake this task and I urge all polling officials and others who will be on duty in connection with the elections to conduct themselves in a fair and neutral manner. I commit to stand with you and beside you every step of the way: as one of you and also as president.

‘Together with the security agencies and the National Peace Council, our traditional rulers our religious leaders our international partners and all stakeholders in taking on this sacred and noble responsibility for a safe and peaceful Ghana.

‘My fellow citizens, Ghana shall pass this test with distinction, Ghana will continue to rise. Let us vote in peace and tranquillity.

I thank you. God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.