It would be difficult to ignore the American elections this year. To be fair, it’s usually difficult to ignore what’s happening in the United States; the Americans just wouldn’t stand for it.
But, this year is different.
This year, the Ghanaian elections appear to be a lot more, dare we say it, democratic than the American elections.
At the very least, they’re more peaceful. Yes, yes, there’s the name calling that you’ve come to expect at any election. This party or person didn’t do that. And that party or person did this. And, with any African election, there are promises of service delivery which we cling to, knowing full well that delivery won’t occur until a month before the next election – if at all.
It’s Africa. It’s Ghana. And you kind of feel a sense of forgiveness because the democracies are still new, and the oppression before that was so great. Yet, the Clinton-Trump circus is making the Ghanaian elections an edge they’ve never had. The Ghanaian elections probably don’t need the international observers that the Americans do.
As if to prove that, a new bill is waiting for President Mahama to sign that will ensure outgoing ministers will relinquish their benefits within three months. That means they’ll need to move out of their government-paid homes, hand over the keys to their fancy government-paid cars, and give up any other perks they receive.
It’s always been law that evicted MPs and government officials need to do give up their privileges; it’s just that they’ve dragged their feet when the time comes. The law isn’t new, but the deadline is. And, it’s all rather civilised compared to the number of Americans who are just realising that they have an Electoral College in place rather than a simple popular vote.
Then consider the significant strides Ghana has made towards alleviating poverty, feeding the children, and offering universal health care. Sure, there’s a long way to go. But, put Ghana and Nigeria next to each other and start making comparisons.
A new report demonstrates that the proportion of Ghanaians suffering from extreme hunger dropped from 47.4 percent in 1990-92 to under 5 percent in 2012-2014. Wow. On the other side of the economic spectrum is the fact that Ghana seems to have a blossoming e-commerce market. Sure, Dumsor looked as though it would cripple the economy for years to come, but it looks as though Ghana has the power to come back. Indeed, it looks as though the government, whichever government, takes the win in December has something to work with.
Things are looking good. Well, okay. But, it says something when the Ghanaian elections appear more democratic than the American ones in the same year. At this moment, we just need to wait and see.