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Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Friday, 5 December 2008

Ghana's voters' views

Supporters of ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo dance around a giant model of an elephant, the party's symbol, plastered in campaign posters

Ghanaians go to the polls on Sunday to choose a successor to President John Kufuor, who is stepping down in January.

Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country to achieve independence - in 1957 - encouraging others in their fight to cut their colonial ties.

Click on the links below to read some Ghanaian's voting choices:

Ebow | 35 | Software developer | Accra


Bridget | 39 | General manager | Accra


Moses | 28 | Part-time student/aid-worker | Kumasi


Comfort | 28 | Cashier | Brong-Ahafo


Yirisa | 25 | National service | Tamale

EBOW, 35, SOFTWARE DEVELOPER, ACCRA

My father often tells me that at the time of independence a frequent boast that captured the mood of the country was: "In 10 years we will leave the UK in the dust."

An elderly woman hugs Convention People's Party presidential candidate Kwesi Nduom
Ebow wants the Convention People's Party, founded by Nkrumah, to win

Then Ghanaians believed in our ability, in our future. Today we seem to believe we are incapable and boast of, and accept praises for, the commonplace like if the election goes smoothly we will be very proud of ourselves.

What does that say about the standards we judge ourselves against?

Those definitely are not the standards [independence leader Kwame] Nkrumah was thinking of.

Ghana was to be a beacon.

But we are not where we should be and there is no reason why we cannot be.

This government - the New Patriotic Party (NPP) - has done some right but I do not think it is up to what we expect.

They were just a stabilising force and now it is time to take it further. We need much more.

They have not been able to ensure either a reliable power supply or clean water to the capital city.

Accra is not a remote, rural area.

Where I live I get power almost every day but then it will go off at least three or four times. I only get water at the weekends, from Saturday night until Sunday evening.

So far what has made us as a people progress is all intellectual but how are we going to keep moving without adequate facilities and infrastructure? We will fall behind.

I hope that the Convention People's Party (CPP), founded by Nkrumah wins the election, because then the other two political parties will start to see that it matters what you do when you are in power.

And they need to learn that lesson.

NPP is feeling confident because they have done a better job than the National Democratic Congress (NDC) party but they should not be patting themselves on the back.

They do not deserve it.

BRIDGET, 39, GENERAL MANAGER, ACCRA

A lot of things are wrong and I don't see any of the major parties addressing these issues.

There is too much complacency. I think their thinking is limited, very short-term and mediocre.

I do not particularly want to vote for any one of the parties instead I want to cast a protest vote. I hope that others will do the same. I know that there are quite a few staying silent - people who are undecided.

Election posters of John Atta Mills and Nana Akufo-Addo

I will give my vote to the Convention People's Party (CPP).

Personally, I have just had enough. I cannot vote for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as I do not believe they will bring change.

Last time I voted for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and I even campaigned for them in my village, which is in the eastern Volta region.

And now it is such a let-down because my region is now a major NDC stronghold. I feel so frustrated.

I would like to see more women in politics.

Last time I voted for the woman who stood in my constituency, here in Accra, because she was a woman.

My son attends a private school and so I do feel confident about his future, however that would not be the case if he was going to a government school.

Papa Kwesi Nduom
Bridget is giving her vote to CPP in protest against the other two parties

I think the NPP have let Ghana down - all the drug money is worrying, and then the rule of law - the judiciary system is not working and people are getting off when they should not. Security is also a huge issue as there are more and more armed robberies.

I do not think the CPP will win this time but going forward from this election they will make strides and then come four years, I know there will definitely be change.

The politicians have to understand the will of the electorate.

Ghanaians are becoming more and more discerning - it is not about hunger and the next meal any more.

The one thing I want is that whatever the outcome on Sunday, I pray for peace and for everyone to accept the result and then in four years for change to come.

MOSES, 28, STUDENT/AID-WORKER, KUMASI

I think it will be very, very peaceful on Sunday and that there will be no violence. Ghanaians are peace-loving people and I know it will be translated in the vote.

Ghanaian children play in a car park
Moses hopes Ghana's children will receive a first-class tertiary education

The issue most important to me is education.

No country can develop without the development of the people and so I am going for the party that has come up with strong ideas for the education sector.

It was not easy for me to get to university. I had to wait until I had a job so I could finance my own education. It has taken me nine years.

Yes, it has been hard but now I am quite comfortable working and studying at the same time. Of course I wish it could have been easier but maybe that dream will come true for my children.

I want to vote for Nana Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) because I think their educational policies are good.

Eight years ago schools were broken down, standards very poor and now when I see the schools in my area, I can see they have done a lot. They have introduced schools across the country.

I feel that I have to go for them so they can continue their work.

I urge every Ghanaian who is eligible to go and vote on Sunday with peace in their heart.

I believe that my beloved motherland Ghana is a beacon of hope among the community of nations in Africa and ever shall be. We have done it before and we will pull through this election and we will not be like a chicken losing its head.

May God grant us a peaceful Sunday.

May God bless Ghana!

COMFORT, 28, CASHIER, BRONG-AHAFO

I feel that our country is going very well.

It is very clear that the opposition parties are not speaking the truth to the public, especially the illiterate people.

Nana Akufo-Addo poster
Comfort feels Nana Akufo-Addo will strengthen the NPP's mandate

Ghana is being well managed. We have effective democracy and security. Nowadays there is nothing like the smuggling of fuels and drug dealers are always caught.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) under President John Kufour has set the foundations and now those will be built on and strengthened by Nana Addo-Akufu.

Our roads are being improved and the implementation of health insurance has brought so much good. Right now if you go to the hospital they will treat you very well and you are not charged - these are benefits that we are seeing.

I appreciate these changes and I am hopeful for the future.

I know our children will experience even better things.

Most importantly, we are free - anyone and everyone can say what they want and no-one will come and harm you.

YIRISA, 25, NATIONAL SERVICE, TAMALE

I see this coming election as very crucial since we have a party hoping to be elected for a third successive time and a highly vibrant and critical opposition wanting to return to power.

John Atta Mills
Yirisa wants NDC's John Atta Mills to win the presidency

I would like to see a change.

I would like the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to come to power.

Over the last few years Ghana has had a lot of donor influence - a lot of debts have been cancelled for instance and so we have seen a lot of money coming into the country.

And yet we have not seen where it is all going.

We see politicians driving expensive cars - they are riding very expensive cars and we have nothing.

Here in Tamale there is a big hospital. It is meant to be for everyone in the town but instead it has become the only place to treat all the complicated cases in the whole of the region because the smaller clinics cannot cope. They do not have the doctors, the necessary medical equipment or sufficient drugs.

It is putting a strain on the hospital in Tamale and it should have had a lot of government attention but it has not. They promised us they would but nothing has been done.

We all pay our health insurance annually, which is the equivalent of $10, so we can be treated for free but for those living out in the rural areas, if they become very ill they cannot be treated close to home. Instead they must pay for transport to bring them to Tamale and so really their treatment and them becoming better is dependent on them paying for travel - it is not right. It is not fair.

HAVE YOUR SAY
I certainly feel we are far behind the promise envisioned for our self-governance half a century ago
Kobi Otchere, Accra

Here in Ghana, national service is compulsory for everyone once they have completed tertiary education.

This is what I am doing this year. It is something like an attachment - I did computer science at university and so currently I am serving at Tamale's electricity company in the computer department.

It is not actually a salary I get but more of a living allowance. I think it is a good system because it exposes you to the working environment before you start and so you get a lot of exposure.

However, the only problem is when your national service ends and you have to find a job, there are not enough employment opportunities. I think 75% of graduates, who have finished their national service do not gain employment. This is the problem.

I want the NDC to win because they are promising to revitalise the manufacturing sector to make it more vibrant and so if this happens, it will create jobs which can only benefit the population.

Ghana needs to work.

Ghanaians have become very aware of what we need to do.


The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section as possible and may not be representative of wider public opinion.



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