Ghana, Black Star Once Again

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Thank you, people of Ghana; ordinary citizens who voted in that West African nation’s recent Presidential elections.

Ghana has lived up to its legacy as The Black Star once again.

Ghanaians deserve our congratulations; our encouragement; and, our endorsement, as they consolidate durable institutions of state that will enhance their country's remarkable economic recovery.

Next week, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America; the first African American to win that office—moreover a man whose father was a Kenyan.

There is great symbolism here.

Obama, if he so chooses next week during his inauguration speech, could mention Ghana’s achievements and what it portends for the rest of the African continent.

Ghanaians did a remarkable thing; they showed the whole world that given the opportunity, African people can conduct free, fair, and open elections in a mature manner.

There was no chaos; no intimidation by the armed forces and the police; and no political murders on the streets. There were no state-sponsored militia kidnapping or killing opposition candidates.

Voters went to the polls and cast their votes; they exercised their preference for presidency freely— a rarity in much of Africa. Ghanaians elected John Atta Mills, the opposition candidate, over Nana Akufo Addo, candidate of the ruling party.

Akufo Addo had won the majority in the first round; but the margin did not exceed what was required in order to avoid a runoff.  Again, the runoff was close and the final result hinged on the outcome in one constituency where polling material had not arrived on time; in one voting district, with 53,000 registered voters.

Akufo Addo grumbled slightly; he asked that the poll be delayed. Yet, his own party –the ruling party of then incumbent president John Kuffuor—told him in no uncertain terms that the vote would proceed.

Ghanaians voted; and Atta Mills won, narrowly.

Akufo Addo did not demand for a recount; he did not reject the outcome; and, he did not tell his supporters to take to the streets. He called the victor and congratulated him.

All Ghanaians were winners; all Africans were winners; and, all supporters for elected governance and accountability around the world took heed.

Contrast Ghana’s mature and shining conduct with the recent string of sham and stolen elections on the continent: in Zimbabwe, in Kenya, in Nigeria, in Ethiopia, and in Uganda.

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