On the evening of December 9, 2020, the chair of the Electoral Commission of Ghana, Jean Mensah announced the winner of the December 7 elections. Nana Akufo-Addo was declared the winner with 6.7 million votes making up 51.2% of the valid vote cast, while Mahama received 6.2 million votes which made up 47.3% of valid votes cast.
Akufo Addo wins Election 2020
Prior to Akufo Addo’s first term win in 2016, the Mahama led-government embarked on massive infrastructural change, however, his government appointees were seen as corrupt and incompetent. Akuffo Addo thus rode on the public perception of corruption and incompetence of the Mahama government. His promises to fight and root out corruption from the system, as well as his free SHS campaign, played a major role in his win and his eventual first term in office. Here is an insight into Akufo Addo’s re-election
At the onset of his first tenure in office, he appointed the anti-corruption crusader, Martin Amidu to head the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The appointment improved Akufo Addo’s public rating and showcased a government ready to put an end to corruption. But as events will have it, Martin Amidu has resigned from his position as Special Prosecutor citing “political interference in the independence of his office.”
According to Martin Amidu, the president asked him to shelve the corruption risk assessment report which he had done on the Agyapa Royalties Deal among other things that jeopardized the sanctity and independence of his work. This brought Akufo Addo and his government into disrepute.
So, what brought about Akufo Addo’s win in 2020? Several items may have come into play to help with Akufo Addo’s win such as the Free SHS Program, NABCO, and the COVID-19 relief packages
Free SHS Program
In September of 2017, the government instituted the Free Senior High School policy with the objective of reducing the financial burden on parents and increasing equitable access, and the quality of education. The move was widely praised by Ghanaians.
According to the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, during the presentation of the Mid-year and Supplementary Budget Review in Parliament, the implementation of the free S.H.S programme since 2017 has saved parents and guardians a total amount of GH¢ 2.2 billion.
He further mentioned that the Akufo Addo led Government had invested GH¢3.2 billion to implement the free S.H.S programme. Resulting in 1,199,750 students sustained in secondary schools, this is a major leap from the 813,443 students enrolled in the 2016/2017 academic year.
Saving parents money and creating the avenue for parents who would otherwise have been unable to enroll their wards through high school education have placed the government in good standing hence, a possible contributory factor to Akufo Addo’s win.
During Mahama’s three-day campaign tour of the Upper East Region, however, he told residents of Tuobong in the Tempane District that the Free SHS policy was started by the NDC government in 2015.
There are some arguments amongst sections of the two leading political parties as to which government commenced the free SHS programme, a huge section of the population believes the Free SHS Program began with Akufo Addo.
The Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme
This is an Akufo Addo led-government led initiative that seeks to address graduate unemployment and alleviate social vices. Under the initiative, graduates are trained and equipped with relevant work skills under any of the 7 main programmes, namely;
• • Educate Ghana
• • Heal Ghana
• • Feed Ghana
• • Revenue Ghana
• • Digitize Ghana
• • Civic Ghana
• • Enterprise Ghana
According to the information on the NABCO website, the objectives of the program are as follows
• Provide temporary employment to unemployed graduates
• Improve skills and employability for transition from programme to permanent employment
• Improve public service delivery
• Improve on government revenue mobilization
• To provide needed infrastructure to improve access to basic public services
According to Ken Ofori Atta during the Mid-year and Supplementary Budget Review in Parliament, the government had invested an excess of GH¢1.6 billion in 100,000 jobless through the NABCO initiative.
“We have also invested in excess of GH¢1.6 billion in 100,000 jobless but educated young adults who had been ignored by the State and were in despair. Through the new NABCO initiative, they have been engaged in various state and private institutions, with some of them securing permanent jobs in the process. That is money in the pockets of our youth,” said Ken Ofori Atta.
COVID-19 relief package
During the on-set of the coronavirus, the Akufo led-government came up with a variety of fiscal measures to salvage and rescue the economy from the negative impact the virus had laid. According to the Innovations for Poverty Actions, COVID-19 brought about “reductions in income for over 770,000 workers, reductions in working hours for over 700,000 workers and layoffs for over 42,000 workers,”
Also, Ghana has the highest rate of youth unemployment (12 percent) and underemployment (50 percent) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The government thus instituted the COVID-19 Alleviation Programme Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS), which has so far supported over 240,000 businesses, including 110,000 led by women.
Moreover, the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation launched the Nkosuo program with an initial commitment of GHS 90 million from the Mastercard Foundation to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
According to the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries, Robert Ahomka-Lindsey,
“The government has responded with the introduction of an alleviation program for businesses, which has been hugely beneficial to the sector. The Nkosuo program will complement the government’s intervention and contribute to the collective effort to enable businesses, particularly MSMEs, to recover from the economic shock of the pandemic. We are grateful to the Mastercard Foundation for this timely partnership and program.”
Furthermore, the government paid off water and electricity bills for the population (100% for the very poor and 50% for all others including businesses). The government also provided food assistance and gave tax holidays to health workers over a period of six months. It also granted a 50% salary increase to all frontline health workers for seven months which began in March 2020.
All of these measures may have played a huge role in the re-election of Akufo Addo.