The Ghanaian parliament is discussing a permanent date change for elections. This would mean a shift in the regular date from 7 December to 7 November. According to the electoral commission, this is something the country and election organisers can totally handle – this year… and in the future.
Still, there’s a lot of work to be done in the next few months. For a start, the electoral commission has a Supreme Court mandate to de-register all of the voters that used a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) ID card as identification. And then it will need to re-register all those that are legitimate Ghanaian citizens.
And, there’s a little back and forth that still needs to be done no matter when the elections actually take place.
That’s without considering the problems that ongoing power cuts are bringing to the people. Not only did dumsor shut down Kotoka airport last month, but President Mahama has refused to consider power cuts as a problem (let alone a national emergency).
Power is likely to be the issue that affects the power struggle the most. The lack of electricity over the past few years and the continued problems that it brings (financial or otherwise), may just be the deciding factor – especially if the opposition takes control of the presidency.
That shouldn’t be surprising. The most pressing issue for the largest number of people is, in fact, electricity. It’s not just something homeowners tired of running generators came up with, either. The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has declared it to be the biggest problem.
Ghana can’t ignore foreign affairs, though. Voters need to be aware of the negotiations that the government has with other states – in Africa and the rest of the world. After all, there will be new agreements to be negotiated with the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Changes in international contracts happen all the time, of course; Ghana doesn’t just respond to ripples happening in other parts of the world. Consider that a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was just signed with Rwanda. This agreement covers defense and provides a space to share ideas and technical advice regarding security matters.
And, of course, voters need to look at everything from health care and housing to the creation of jobs and the development of schools. There are a lot of issues that affect every aspect of the Ghanaian life, and people will need to consider each and everyone as the elections draw ever closer.
In the meantime, we have the Olympics to look forward to and the participation of the 16 Ghanaians on the team. We wish them well as they prepare to represent the country and the African continent. Let’s hope they’re ready too!