Ghanaians have voted in presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7, 2020.
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Just like every other election since 1992, the 2020 poll had the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as the main contenders.
In a repeat of the 2016 elections, the NPP's Nana Akufo-Addo faced John Mahama of the NDC as the main opponent.
Akufo-Addo became president on January 7, 2017, after defeating Mahama who was the then incumbent. Mahama tried to do what Akufo-Addo by defeating him from opposition.
While his party was undoubtedly a strong one and he had a good chance of coming back to power, it could not come to pass as many obstacles
YEN.com.gh has put together a list of obstacles which hindered Mahama's chances of becoming president again even though he and his party did so well.
1. Free SHS:
Even before 2016, Akufo-Addo was talking of making senior high school (second-cycle) education free in Ghana but the NDC virtually said it was not possible.
In 2016, when Akufo-Addo repeated his Free SHS mantra, Mahama and the NDC argued that it can only be done at a later time because they needed to build more schools to accommodate the expect ed increase in the number of students.
But somehow, Akufo-Addo and the NPP have been able to implement the policy after coming to power without the massive building of schools as the NDC proposed.
While the Free SHS has had its challenges, it was generally been successful and become the topmost achievement of the NPP going into the elections.
Mahama and the NDC were even saying they will better the Free SHS by adding students from private schools, among others.
For critical observers, it was difficult to reconcile the two positions of the NDC and beneficiaries will likely vote in appreciation of Akufo-Addo which will affect Mahama's chances of winning.
It is obvious Free SHS was one of the deciding factors considering that Akufo-Addo outperformed his party's parliamentary candidates.
2. New voters register:
The compilation of the new voters' register which ended in August was met with vehement protests by the NDC.
While the Electoral Commission (EC) is mandated to make any such decisions about new voters register among others, the NDC went on demonstrations citing various reasons as to why a new register should not be compiled.
There is no denying the fact that the NDC does better in elections in the border areas of Ghana including the Volta region which is dubbed their world bank, the Upper East and West, Oti and the border areas of the Western and Bono regions.
But the new register has been compiled and will be used for the 2020 elections and it was done with restrictions on movement along Ghana's land borders.
Looking at the history of NDC's performance's in those areas, it looks as if their chances were going to be affected by the new register and they knew hence their protests.
Looking at the election results, even though the NDC won the elections in these areas, it was not enough to overtake the NPP and will likely have been a different scenario if the new register had not come into play.
The emergence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana since March 2020 changed how we do our politics and it went against Mahama.
Between March and June, not much was talked about in the political domain as Ghanaians dealt with COVID-19 and its effects on their lives.
These were times that Mahama and his campaign could have been hitting hard on the negatives in the Akufo-Addo government but it was lost because it was not the right moment. Even after the restrictions were eased, campaigning was not the same.
Moreover, Akufo-Addo gave out some freebies including free water and electricity to alleviate the plight of Ghanaians in the tough times.
The lost time of campaigning and the COVID-19 freebies from Akufo-Addo affected Mahama's chances
4. Incompetence and corruption tag:
In the 2016 elections, the NPP tagged Mahama as incompetent. The incompetence tag mainly came from the power crisis (dumsor) and what the NPP called the mismanagement of the economy.
Mahama was also accused of corruption by the NPP which claimed he inflated contracts and cited the SADA 'akonfem' saga among many other scandals.
While these descriptions were not really proven, it stuck on Mahama then and still seem to be sticking to him going into the 2020 elections.
On the other hand, Akufo-Addo seemed to be able to hold himself up as incorruptible even though there had been many such scandals in his government.
For many of those who based their votes on these matters, Mahama was still not seen as the best the alternative to Akufo-Addo.
5. Two terms for parties (Continuity):
Since 1992, every party that has won elections has had two terms to rule and it has continued in this election.
Even though Mahama himself is a one-term president, his party had two terms, one for the late Professor John Atta Mills whose last six months was completed by Mahama before winning the 2012 elections.
There were many people who advocated for continuity in government by giving a party two terms in order to complete its programmes.
So there you have it. Mahama had a good chance of winning the 2020 election and becoming president again but he had a lot of obstacles to overcome.
Meanwhile, former President John Mahama has officially rejected the results of the 2020 presidential election.
According to him, there were violations of the law governing the election and thus makes EC's declaration tantamount to illegality.
The NDC presidential candidate while addressing the media on Thursday, December 10, also listed a number of concerns he had about the general conduct of the election.
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