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Five die during electoral violence in Ghana

By News Desk, with agency report

The Ghanian Police has disclosed that no fewer than five people have been killed in election-related violence that followed the country’s presidential election.

Contrary to reports, the police said, only five fatalities had been recorded in the post-election violence which had sent shivers down the spine of citizens.

Through a statement on Wednesday, the nation’s security outfit maintained that reported electoral violence across the country was below 100.

According to the police, sixty-one electoral and post-electoral incidents nationwide, and of these, 21 are true cases of electoral violence, six of which involve gunshots resulting in the death of five.

The development, political observers argued, has cast a shadow over the country hailed for its stable democracy while Ghana’s neighbouring countries have also urged political camps to uphold a peaceful outcome after trading heated accusations.

The electoral commission published results from seven out of the country’s 16 regions, pointing to a narrow lead by opposition candidate John Mahama over outgoing president Nana Akufo-Addo.

Monday’s presidential and parliamentary vote has been viewed by observers as generally free and fair.

But Mahama late Tuesday accused Akufo-Addo of showing “credentials that are very undemocratic” and harnessing the military to sway the outcome.

“You cannot use the military to try and overturn some of the results in constituencies that we have won. We will resist any attempts to subvert the sovereign will of the Ghanaian people,” the 62-year-old former president said.

He made the accusations after rumours circulated on social media that he had conceded defeat.

Hours earlier, the presidency — releasing an unofficial tally — claimed Akufo-Addo was ahead with 52.25 percent of the vote, against Mahama’s 46.44 percent.

The country’s Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, told a press conference that allegations of intimidation by soldiers were false.

He also bluntly rejected Mahama’s claim that his party had won a majority, of 140 seats, in the 275-member parliament.

“No candidates at this stage should undermine the work of the EC (electoral commission), it is irresponsible and it would endanger the peace of this country,” Oppong Nkrumah warned.

Mahama and Akufo-Addo, 76, are old rivals who have faced off at the ballot box twice before.

Mahama was president for four years until 2016, before being succeeded by Akufo-Addo. Both of those elections were determined by small margins.

Despite the sharp words, Ghana has a history of electoral stability, and grievances are typically pursued through the courts.

Akufo-Addo and Mahama on Friday signed a symbolic peace pact, which the 15-nation regional bloc of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) urged “all political parties and their leadership to respect.”

In a statement, ECOWAS said, “we appeal to political parties and their followers to refrain from any conduct that may undermine the successful conclusion of the electoral process.”

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