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A model of democracy

Article - February 18, 2014
Ghana's free elections have seen peaceful handovers between political parties twice in this millennium
JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA, PRESIDENT OF GHANA AND JOHNSON ASIEDU-NKETIA, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
President John Dramani Mahama is a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ghana’s social democratic political party that was founded in 1992 by Jerry Rawlings, president between 1993 and 2000. 
 
The NDC has held a majority in Parliament and the position of head of state since 1992, except for the period between 2001 and 2008. Both times power was transferred to and from the NDC, the transitions were smooth and served to cement Ghana’s reputation as a stable democracy. 
 
According to Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, NDC Secretary General, the Electoral Commission (EC) – “one of the most powerful bodies on the African continent” – is to thank in large part for Ghana’s peaceful elections.

With powers secured by the Constitution, the independent commission is the sole entity mandated to approve political parties, oversee their expenditures and revoke their licenses. The EC runs free and transparent elections that cannot be interrupted by any other body. 
“We will build an economy that
rewards hard work and
nurtures Ghanaian entrepreneurs and businesses whose prospects will not be tied to political cycles and
patronage”


John Dramani Mahama,
President of Ghana
Strong economic growth over the past 20 years is not the product of just one political party; indeed, it can be attributed to both the NDC and opposition party, the New Patriotic Party, having put in place and carried out smart policies. Today, the NDC is focusing on improving key infrastructure and revitalising various industries to ensure sustained growth.  
 
“We have managed to reverse the decline in the cocoa industry and the declining extractive industries like gold and other minerals. We saw electricity as a very important ingredient in economic development, so we’ve focused on making sure that every community has electricity,” says Mr Asiedu-Nketia. 
 
He adds that Ghana’s welfare lies in the hands of everyone; once a new party is elected, it must “be given the peace of mind to implement its programmes.”  
 
“Whenever there is a changeover, the new party may be stronger where we are weaker. That is how democracy develops,” he concludes.

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