Monday, 7 November 2016

Back to elections – in Africa… As Ghanaians go to the polls on Wednesday 7 December 2016 to elect a new president, what indeed are the prospects of a free and fair election in Ghana and elsewhere in Africa?

Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

ONE OF THE most profoundly enduring iconic imageries of the African scene during an election in any region of the continent – west, south, east or even in the desperately bleak “Arab spring” of the north – is the thrust and enthusiasm of the very patient and disciplined would-be voter waiting, anxiously, in stretched out and meandering queues, quite often in uncomfortable high temperatures or heavy downpours, for their turn to cast their vote in that ballot box… Tens of thousands may have begun queuing first thing at dawn, some having earlier walked many miles to a designated polling station, and several probably not able to vote well into sundown and a few returning the following day, if eventually unable to vote, in cases where a “staggered” election arrangement operated. For this teaming population of the electorate, it is not just a demonstration of some abstract civic responsibility to wish to cast their vote, but, more importantly, their belief, their earnest conviction, that they are involved in a democratic programme to exercise and clearly indicate their personal choice on who or what party should represent and advance their prescribed or preferred interest(s).


In the paper that follows (link below), I examine, in a continent-wide survey, the salient issues that the voter in Africa contends with in exercising this crucial democratic right:

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