After the Donald Trump horror show that swept aside the incumbent Democrat party, amid calls for vote recounts in several states and bitter recriminations, the people and political leaders of The Gambia and today – Ghana, have demonstrated that politics need not bring out the worst in humans.
With grace and magnanimity president Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia last weekend accepted defeat at the polls to an unknown candidate, after ruling the country for twenty-two years.
Following the formal declaration of results by the country’s electoral commission, Jammeh picked up the phone and called the winner of the votes to congratulate and accept defeat – a phenomenon unheard of in Africa.
If the outgoing president Jammeh of Gambia had set an African record for the Guinness Book of Records, it didn’t last too long.
Today, Ghana’s president John Mahama has not only conceded defeat at the presidential polls, but has emulated Jammeh of the Gambia by congratulating the winner – Nana Akufo-Addo .
Presidential and general elections are due in Sierra Leone in 2018, and the people of Sierra Leone are closely watching developments across the West African shores. The ruling APC is expected to lose those elections. Will president Koroma and his ruling APC accept defeat at the polls, and will Koroma pick up the phone to congratulate the winner?
President John Mahama called Mr Akufo-Addo to admit defeat, a spokesman for his party said, as the Electoral Commission announced the result.
Mr Akufo-Addo has promised free high-school education and more factories, but critics have questioned the viability of his ambitions. Celebrations have broken out in the capital, Accra.
Ghana has been a multi-party democracy since the end of military rule in 1992 and this result is seen as reinforcing its reputation for the peaceful transfer of power between administrations.
Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) declared Mr Akufo-Addo the winner, with 53.85% of the votes, while Mr Mahama took 44.40%. Turnout on Wednesday’s vote was more than 68%.
Mr Akufo-Addo , from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), won the election on his third attempt to reach the presidency, after a campaign dominated by the country’s faltering economy.
In the previous election in 2012, Mr Mahama, from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), defeated Mr Akufo-Addo by less than 300,000 votes.
It is the second time in the space of a week that a West African president has conceded to an opposition candidate, following the shock defeat of President Yahya Jammeh in Gambia’s elections.