- Title: Ghana opposition urges voter support, seeks to turn economy around
- Date: 5th December 2016
- Summary: ACCRA, GHANA (DECEMBER 4, 2016) (REUTERS) SUPPORTERS CHEERING / MUSIC NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY LEADER NANA AKUFO-ADDO ON STAGE MORE OF CROWDS AT RALLY AKUFO-ADDO POINTING AT THE CROWD AS SONG SINGS 'NANA'
- Embargoed: 20th December 2016 00:01
- Keywords: Ghana opposition rally elections Nana Akufo-Addo John Mahama
- Location: ACCRA, GHANA
- City: ACCRA, GHANA
- Country: Ghana
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BGYNNR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING
Ghana's main opposition leader on Sunday (December 4) called on voters to rally behind him, saying he has the credentials to quickly turn the economy around and is not looking to amass personal wealth.
Nana Akufo-Addo told flag-waving supporters at a rally ahead of Wednesday's polls that President John Mahama's government has mismanaged the economy and unleashed hardship on the people, adding that retaining it would constitute a threat to the nation's future.
"John Dramani Mahama and the NDC inherited an economy that was growing at 9.1 percent without oil from J.A. Kufuor (President John Agyekum Kufuor until 2001). Today, this year we are going to have the lowest rate of growth in our history, in the last 22 years, under the watch of Mahama and he says that with these statistics, we should give him another chance, another 4 years. Are we going to give him another 4 years? We are not going to give him another 4 years. He is a threat to the future of our country. We are going to put him aside and bring in Akufo-Addo and the NPP to lift our country up and get Ghana working again! Get Ghana going again," Akufo-Addo told the crowds.
Mahama is seeking a second and final four-year term in what is expected to be a close race between him and Akufo-Addo. Voters will also be choosing members of parliament for 275 constituencies.
Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil is currently following a three-year aid deal with the International Monetary Fund to restore economic balance to an economy dogged by public debt, deficits and high interest rates.
More than 5,000 supporters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), blew vuvuzelas, beat drums and danced in a carnival atmosphere to blaring hip life music at the forecourt of the International Trade Fair Centre in the capital, Accra.
Two huge elephant effigies draped in the NPP's red, white and blue colours towered over the revellers.
Many say they believed Akufo-Addo, 72-years old and who lost narrowly to President John Mahama in 2012, will deliver on his campaign promises, which include setting up a factory in each of the 110 districts and giving every constituency the equivalent of $1 million a year if he wins power.
"I am pleading with God that Akufo-Addo should win because, our traders women are suffering. Look there is no money in the system, there is no jobs in the system and we are suffering. Look at me, I have two children and how I am suffering, so I am pleading that God should open the way for Nana Akufo-Addo," said a supporter Sadiah Ama.
"John Mahama was saying they can do the free education but we have seen that they can't do anything and we know that we, the youth, we are suffering. Second, free education, Akufo-Addo says he will bring it, Mahama says no, but we know that one thing in the manifesto, he was saying, He can do it, I say oh wow, it means Nana Akufo-Addo can do it, that is why we are saying that no, we need change. Because we the youth we can see what is going on, we can see that no jobs in the system," said another supporter, Nii Ayertey.
Mahama, who has been showcasing scores of infrastructure projects as proof of development in his last four years, said he needed a second term to consolidate the gains and create jobs.
He will end his campaign with a similar rally on Monday, ruling party officials say.
Wednesday's vote will be the sixth consecutive democratic elections since former military ruler Jerry Rawlings introduced multi-party politics in 1992.
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