Why Ghana President Mahama is asking for a second term

December 6, 2016
Source: Reuters
Why Ghana President Mahama is asking for a second term

Ghana President John Mahama, facing a tough challenge in this week's election, said on Monday he had done his best in the past four years and deserved a second term to consolidate economic and infrastructure gains.

"I humbly ask for your mandate on Wednesday ... to complete the journey which we all started together," Mahama told thousands of supporters at the end of the ruling party's campaign ahead of Wednesday's vote.

Mahama is seeking a second and final four-year term in what is expected to be a close race between him and main opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo. Voters will choose among seven presidential candidates and elect members of parliament for 275 constituencies.

Ghana exports gold, oil and cocoa, but experienced a slump in global commodity prices and macroeconomic instability, forcing the government to adopt a three-year aid deal with the International Monetary Fund in April 2015.

Mahama said that despite the challenges, the West African country made modest gains in stabilizing the economy, resolving a prolonged power crisis and improving social and economic infrastructure.

"We have done much work, but more needs to be done and we can only advance faster if we press on and stay the course," Mahama said.

Mahama, 58, a former vice president, was elected in 2012 after serving six months as president to complete the term of John Atta Mills, who died in office.

Akufo-Addo has said re-electing Mahama would threaten the nation's future, accusing the president's government of mismanaging the economy and unleashing hardship.

Mahama's supporters, waving miniature party flags, filled the stands and inner perimeter of the 45,000-capacity Accra sports stadium, draped in a sea of black, red, white and green stripes.

Among them was a group of five women aged 72 to 78 years, who said they showed up to celebrate Mahama for consolidating peace and unity in Ghana.

"He is not only doing his best for Ghana but he is also an epitome of peace, which we sometimes take for granted," one of them, Naa Teye, said.

Ghana has held five successful democratic elections since 1992 and Mahama said he was hopeful the election would pass off peacefully.