Ghana today – at least on the surface – is enjoying political stability, with a multiethnic population coming together in peaceful democratic elections.
President Nana Akufo-Addo speaks with Al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton on why his country is so different from its neighbours in this respect – and what work still remains to be done in Ghana and in the rest of the continent.
In 1957, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan country to gain independence from colonial rule.
“We had our problems early,” Akufo-Addo tells Al Jazeera. “After the volatility of the first 30-odd years after independence, the people of Ghana … made up their mind that they wanted a democratic government.”
Akufo-Addo took office on January 7, 2017, after winning Ghana’s seventh peaceful democratic elections since multiparty democracy returned to the country in 1992.
“The determination of the Ghanaian people to go through democratic principles and values has meant that election after election has been stronger in terms of its credibility and its transparency – and it has also meant that the willingness of the population to accept the results of our electorate council has heightened,” he says.
Elsewhere in the continent, democracy has been far less successful at taking root. In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to be sworn in for a second term on Tuesday, November 28 after the country’s supreme court rejected two petitions to nullify last month’s election results.
And this week in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe was forced to resign, ending his 37 years in power after members of his own ZANU-PF party forced him out with the backing of the army.
“It’s a pity that the current political situation has degenerated to the extent that the army is finding itself [required] to come directly into play,” Akufo-Addo says. “[That] can never be a long-term solution, obviously … I think at the end of the day, the determination to engage, democratic values will triumph in Zimbabwe.”
Still, the president of Ghana remains optimistic about Africa’s future.
“I’m confident that the march of democracy in Africa is something that’s going to be very difficult to reverse,” he says.