Re-elected Ghana president, Nana Akufo-Addo sworn in for second term
Nana Akufo-Addo has been sworn in as Ghana’s president for a second term, a day after squabbles broke out in parliament between rival politicians. After the unusual scenes in one of Africa’s most stable democracies, soldiers were deployed briefly.
In December’s tightly fought election, the president defeated his main rival, former President John Mahama. He faces the twin challenges of dealing with and trying to boost the economy with the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 50,000 confirmed cases of the virus have occurred in Ghana and, like many countries, there has been major economic disruption.
On Wednesday, things came to a head in parliament when MPs voted for a new speaker. After one MP snatched a ballot paper and attempted to run out of the building with it, the situation escalated.
“There was total breakdown of law and order,” said MP-elect Kwame Twumasi Ampofo of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Scuffles between NDC MPs and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of Mr Akufo-Addo, neither of which has a majority, were ultimately broken up by soldiers who intervened briefly.
Alban Bagbin, an NDC MP, was later sworn in as a speaker. Ghana has a President and a speaker from various parties for the first time.
Earlier this week, President Akufo-Addo urged parliamentarians to unite and accommodate each other’s views in what was the final speech of his first term in office.
According to BBC Africa, in the newly elected legislature, the two parties have exactly the same number of MPs, so there is the possibility of political gridlock.
Last week, the NDC filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to annul the victory of President Nana Akufo-Addo, citing irregularities in the vote.
In the 7 December election, the president obtained 51.6 percent of the vote, compared with 47.4 percent won by Mr Mahama, who served in the top job from 2012 to 2017.