President John Dramani Mahama was inaugurated today. But the opposition is not giving up its legal challenge to his election.
The inauguration of Ghana’s president, John Dramani Mahama, on Monday was packed with visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries, but perhaps the most important guests to take a seat in Accra’s expansive Independence Square were the robed judges of the country’s Supreme Court.
They have been tasked with deciding if the 54-year-old president really won last month’s election or if the voting was marred by fraud, as the country’s largest opposition party alleges in a lawsuit filed after the results were announced.
President Mahama – a former vice president who took over in July after President John Atta Mills died in office – was elected to a full term with 51.7 percent of the vote to the 47.7 percent garnered by New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Akufo-Addo. International observers call the vote free and fair.
Soon after the votes were announced, the NPP emerged with allegations that the vote had been stolen by Mahama’s National Democratic Congress, and promised to take both the president and the electoral commission to court to prove it. Until the court rules, the challenge will hang over Ghana's regionally respected track record in elections and the rule of law.
“It is not an easy decision for us to tell the people of Ghana that we will not accept the results of the election as declared by the chairman of the electoral commission,” Mr. Akufo-Addo told a press conference late last month. “But we had to accept the responsibility of righting what in our view was the wrong of an invalid election.”