The main contenders in Ghana’s presidential election

GHANA holds a presidential election on December  7 in what is expected to be a two-horse race between the incumbent, President Nana Akufo-Addo, and the leader of the main opposition party, former president John Mahama.

Below are details about the two main candidates:


The 76-year-old is running against Mahama for the third time, after defeating him in the 2016 race for the presidency.

Critics say Akufo-Addo, whose late father was also president before being ousted in a 1972 coup, has failed to make good on campaign promises such as a pledge to bring a factory to every district, while the economy remains dogged by high public debt.

However, the former lawyer has won public support for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which included providing free water and subsidised electricity to households.

If re-elected, he has promised to push ahead with a $17 billion programme to spur the economy’s post-pandemic recovery, improve social mobility and create more jobs.

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Pre-election surveys suggest the president is the front-runner, but no large-scale opinion polls have been conducted.

Akufo-Addo qualified as a barrister in Britain and had a long legal career spanning Britain, France and Ghana before turning to politics.

He is a member of a royal family from Akyem in Ghana’s Eastern Region.


Mahama, 62, came to power in 2012 when his predecessor John Atta Mills died. He narrowly defeated Akufo-Addo in an election later that year.

His time in office was overshadowed by a global commodities slump that squeezed revenues from gold, oil and cocoa exports.

Akufo-Addo accused the Mahama administration of corruption and mismanagement and beat him at the 2016 election. Mahama denied all charges.

This time, Mahama’s keystone campaign pledge is a $10 billion infrastructure plan dubbed the ‘Big Push.’ He has also promised to expand a popular free school programme and health benefits.

He is a Christian from the town of Bole in the mainly Muslim north of the country. He earned a post-graduate degree in social psychology at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow. He has also served as minister of communication. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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