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Africa

Let's finish the journey we've started, urges Ghana's incumbent in final election campaign rally

media NDC supporter wearing sunglasses bearing the party's umbrella logo, Accra, 5 December 2016 Photo: Daniel Finnan

Calling on his supporters to give him another four years in office, incumbent President John Dramani Mahama said he needed to finish what he started and “complete the journey”. Mahama, who is up against main opposition challenger Nana Akufo-Addo, spoke during the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party’s final election rally at Accra Sports Stadium on Monday.

The message displayed on the back of the main stage read “Ghana rising” and the NDC reiterated Mahama’s work in improving the country.

“He gave us schools, gave us hospitals, good roads and helped people to get jobs too,” Zara, a caterer and NDC supporter, told RFI.

Radio report

Mahama packed out the 40,000-seater stadium with supporters dressed in party regalia. Proceedings took on carnival atmosphere with live bands and pop music. Security was tight with police and members of the army securing the venue for the president’s arrival.

“He sacrificed himself for Ghana,” said NDC supporter Amandi, who works selling eggs for a living. “I like him because he’s doing a good job,” she added, speaking at the entrance to the stadium.

The president’s convoy was followed by a lorry packed with boxes of t-shirts emblazoned with the NDC logo which were handed out to the crowd as Mahama gave his speech. “On the campaign trail we have fought this election as if we are in the opposition,” the incumbent said.

NDC supporter wears Guy Fawkes mask painted with the colours of the Ghanaian flag

At one point during proceedings a 4x4 jeep arrived on the stadium field carrying a giant umbrella, the NDC party’s symbol. There were also chaotic scenes when a group of young motorcyclists attempted to enter the field.

Some supporters had real examples of work by the government that have helped them personally. Fostina from Volta region, in the east of the country, said she has received assistance to help her become a rice farmer. “I started farming with just two acres, now I’m farming with 60 acres. I contacted the government and now they’re supporting me with small [amounts of] money,” she said.

In his 20-minute address in English, Mahama described his campaign having crisscrossed the country. He paid tribute to former president Jerry Rawlings for his “support and good counsel” and late president John Atta-Mills who he said he had “drawn great inspiration” from. Mahama replaced Atta-Mills in 2012 when he died in office.

Mahama's supporters were kept entertained as they waited for him to arrive.

“Ghana has been in safe hands under my watch as president and Ghana has continued to be the most peaceful and stable nation in the whole of Africa,” Mahama said.

“The choice we face in this election is simple, to stay the course and forge on with determination and consolidate all the gains we have made in the last four years. Or to give up and begin again on another course of which we have no guarantees of success,” he added.

The NDC’s final rally on Monday followed the opposition New Patriotic Party’s final election rally on Sunday held at Accra’s Trade Fair Park. Other smaller opposition parties concluded their election campaigning by Monday with Tuesday designated a day of electoral silence. Some 15 million Ghanaians go to the polls on Wednesday to elect a president and 275 members of parliament.

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