As Ghanaians went to the polls on Saturday. President John Dramani Mahama – who replaced John Atta Mills after his death in July – faced seven candidates including the leader of the largest opposition group, Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Among the main issues concerning voters are job creation, tackling corruption and free secondary education.
Al Jazeera has partnered with the Web Foundation to launch a mobile voice programme to coincide with the Ghana elections. Airtel Ghana has provided a toll-free number for their subscribers (local charges apply for other networks) and Kirusa is hosting the service. Ghanaians, including citizen reporters from Penplusbytes , ETV Ghana, Ghana Decides,the Institute of Media Practice and CODEO have been calling the service to submit their audio reports.
Listen below to Ghanaian voices from the streets, describing the opportunities and challenges facing their country and future government.
With the economy predicted to grow by eight per cent in 2013 the NDC (National Democratic Congress) has stressed increasing prosperity for the country as a central vision.
Mahama, the NDC candidate and incumbent president, aims to put Ghana on the path of becoming a middle-income country.
Despite the positive assertions from politicians, however, there are concerns among the young about unemployment.
Julius from the Central Region feels that the government hasn’t done enough to tackle the problem.
Mohammed , from the same region, feels that the economy is not helping small scale business owners which is “unacceptable to those in enterprise”.
Meanwhile, Razak from the Upper East region believes that resources are distributed inequitably and that there are not enough job opportunities.
Education has been a key issue for Ghanaians this election season. Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has promised free secondary schooling if he is brought to power.
Mohammed says that the government has no excuses not to provide free education to all. For Mohammed, free education would enable Ghanaians “to take an advantage over the globe”.
Kwadjwo, a teacher from the country’s Eastern region, says that people are “yearning” for an educational system available to all.
An anonymous caller said they believe education is the best way for Ghana – and the rest of Africa – to beat poverty.
Sam from the Western Region feels that corruption remains a major issue and is something the new government, regardless of party affiliation, needs to tackle in 2013.
NGOs, such as CODEO, are monitoring polling stations and extensive campaigns have been encouraging voters to report anything irregular that they see.
An anonymous caller to Al Jazeera’s service urged voters not to take bribes from politicians try to sway their vote.
There are concerns about the outbreak of violence or tension in certain areas, but there is a general sense of optimism that the voting will take place peacefully.
Both Owusu and Kumateso urge Ghanians to remain peaceful during the election period
According to Reuters, the country’s economy is expected to grow by about eight per cent next year – to some extent due to the growing sales of oil, which was discovered in the West African nation in 2007.
These natural resources have raised Ghanaians’ expectations about what their governments should be delivering.
Mohammed is a petroleum dealer and he believes that not enough petrol remains in the country for locals to use.
He says that ensuring the national oil resources reach the average Ghanaian would mean a huge boost to the country’s economy.
Sabat , meanwhile, feels that he hasn’t seen any benefit from the country’s oil resources – but that perhaps free secondary education funded by oil revenues could change this.