Ghana’s President Focuses On December Elections

Posted August 14th, 2012 at 3:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Ghana's new president says his immediate challenge is to get the government to continue working smoothly as rival political parties prepare for December elections.

John Dramani Mahama, Ghana's former vice president, took power last month after the unexpected death of his predecessor John Atta Mills.

Mr. Mahama told VOA in an interview that the transfer of power was smooth thanks to Ghana's solid constitution and mature democracy.

He said after a long period of instability and coup d'états, the 1992 constitution enabled five successful elections in his country and made it impossible to roll back democracy.

Mr. Mahama said that in Ghana today, and in much of Africa, there are strong civil society organizations, religious and traditional groups and leaders, as well as pressure groups, that all have a vision of how they want to live.

In his words, the age of the “dinosaur” single-vision head of state on the continent is past, noting that 24 African nations held elections in the past year and a half. This was not the case in the 1970s, he said, when there were no elections because most African states were military dictatorships.

President Mahama said elections are important even if they are not perfect because they get better with time. He warned that after a longtime dictatorship, things get worse before they get better. But ultimately, he said, nations can only achieve stability through elections that reflect views of their people.