Ghana presidential candidates pledge peace

Ghana's eight presidential candidates have pledged to uphold peace and democracy ahead of the country's elections on 7 December, at a ceremony in the southern city of Kumasi.

The signing of the historic Kumasi Declaration was organised by the National Peace Council (NPC), a national body comprising 11 members representing various religious, social or political groups.

The pact, in which the candidates also promised to restrain their supporters from engaging in post-election violence, was witnessed by Ghana's chief justice, Georgina Wood; the NPC chairman, Revd Asante Antwi; and Otumfuo Osei Tutu, the 16th Asantehene, the traditional king of the Ashanti people, whose capital is Kumasi.

Also in attendance was former president Jerry John Rawlings who cautioned against what he described as the "undesirably high" level of political tension in the country ahead of the elections. Rawlings called on Ghanaians to be vigilant for electoral fraud, for politicians to tone down their often abusive language, and for security agencies to be impartial.

The election will see incumbent president and leader of the centre-left National Democratic Congress (NDC) John Mahama seek to retain his seat as he faces his main challenger Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from the centre-right New Patriotic Party (NPP). The two presidential hopefuls are currently neck and neck in the race for Ghana's top job.

The other six candidates, who are not regarded as being in with a chance of winning, are Michael Abu Sakara Foster of the Convention People’s Party (CPP); Paa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP); Hasan Ayariga of the Peoples National Convention's (PNC); Akwasi Addai Odike of the United Front Party (UFP); Henry Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party’s (GCPP); and independent Jacob Osei Yeboah.  

In addition to the Kumasi Declaration, Ghana’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has introduced new measures such as biometric voting to curb irregularities and help ensure a transparent vote.

If there is no outright winner, a run-off election will be held on 28 December.