n African Renaissance - The 2008 Ghanaian elections : a model that unraveled?

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305


If the evolutionary/modernization theories of democratization via the magic of elections in Africa are anything to go by, then the 2008 Ghanaian elections should have been an improvement on the previous four elections : 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. An authoritative source of these theories states that 'electoral cycle creates a positive spiral of self-reinforcement leading to increasingly democratic elections. Third elections mark a cut-off point at which the democratic qualities tend to improve radically' (Lindberg, 2006: 71). In this paper I argue that this was not the case in the 2008 Ghana's election. In my opinion, the 2008 elections - more than any of the four previous ones which preceded it - sent Ghana teetering on the brink of political instability and nearly ruined its much acclaimed status as a model of peaceful, free and fair elections, and a relatively credible democracy in Africa. However, as if to prove these theories correct, Ghana stepped back from the brink and squeaked through to another peaceful election thereby, lending credence to claims that it is a beacon of hope for democracy consolidation in Africa. Felicitations poured into Ghana from all over the world because of its so-called peaceful 2008 elections, and particularly because the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party won the presidential polls, leading to a peaceful rotation of power between the incumbent President, John Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the President-elect, Professor John Atta Mills on 7th January 2009.

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