Ghana elections 2016 and inauguration 2017

Catching up with posting: other elections and inaugurations have also been taking place. On 7 December, Ghana held general elections, to elect the President and members of Parliament.  It was peaceful, with voter turnout over 68%, and very lively discussions. The former foreign minister Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party was elected President on his third attempt, defeating incumbent President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.

20161207_071348.jpgThe inauguration of Akufo-Addo was 7 January, see BBC article: Ghana: Nana Akufo-Addo is sworn in as president  He was wearing beautiful custom-woven kente.  Kente is a very colourful fabric, entirely hand-woven by Ghanaian weavers, and each design has a story with meaning, giving each cloth its own distinction.

Ghana elections

Normally you’d see Kente cloth woven in narrow strips, which are then sewn together. Here, the Kente cloth was a patchwork. From Charles Benoni Okine, Daily Graphic:

“He’s taken the best of the various peoples represented throughout Ghana, and created a beautiful patchwork tapestry reflecting the traditions and the unity of the Ghanaian people. Ashanti kente with proverbs such as “Akokobaatan” – compassion and discipline, and “Nkyimkyim” – life is not a straight path. Obama kente which is derived from the Ga and Ewe people’s Adanudo cloth, and created with embossed and appliquéd patterns. Adinkra symbols, an Akan tradition, such as “Akoma” the heart and a symbol of love, “Bese Saka” a bunch of cola nuts and a symbol of abundance, and “Ohene Aniwa” which is a symbol of vigilance.  There are also pieces of Gonja cloth from the North of Ghana.”

If you enjoy textiles, this has more gorgeous photos from the inauguration: These photos from Akufo-Addo’s inauguration will make you feel proud as a Ghanaian

It was impressive to see the peaceful election process, the smooth transition (especially looking at the situation in The Gambia this week, with regional military forces sent in from neighbouring countries), and the strong engagement by voters throughout. It was a little tense while they were waiting for the results to be announced, and we were sent home early from work that day, but it all went amazingly well. Impressive work by the Electoral Commission. Many challenges remain, and the economy is struggling, but Akufo-Addo has plans to cut taxes and open new businesses. Ghana was also praised internationally for peaceful elections.

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