• Recurring threat of political violence in democratic national elections: Ghana has experienced eight consecutive elections since 1992, but some of them have been marred by violence and disputes. The most recent election in 2020 saw clashes between supporters of the NPP and the NDC, resulting in at least six deaths and dozens of injuries. The NDC also rejected the official results and filed a petition to the Supreme Court, alleging irregularities and fraud. The court dismissed the petition and upheld the victory of President Akufo-Addo. Political violence undermines the credibility and stability of Ghana’s democracy and poses a threat to peace and security.
• Weakening of national cohesion: Ghana is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, with over 100 ethnic groups and various faiths. While Ghana has largely avoided ethnic conflicts, there are some signs of growing polarization and division along ethnic and religious lines. Some politicians have been accused of using ethnic appeals and sentiments to mobilize their supporters, especially in regions where they have a strong base. There have also been some incidents of religious intolerance and discrimination, such as attacks on mosques and churches by extremists. These trends could erode the sense of national unity and identity that Ghana has cultivated over the years.
• Politicization, corruption and paralysis of the public service bureaucracies: Ghana’s public service is supposed to be professional, impartial and efficient in delivering public goods and services to the citizens. However, there are allegations that the public service has been politicized and corrupted by successive governments, who have appointed their loyalists and cronies to key positions, regardless of their qualifications and performance. This has compromised the quality and integrity of the public service, leading to poor service delivery, waste of resources, nepotism, patronage and bribery. The public service also suffers from low morale, inadequate training, poor remuneration and lack of accountability.
• The challenge arising out of a political duopoly that promotes self-serving politics and exclusionary government: Ghana’s political system is dominated by two major parties, the NPP and the NDC, who have alternated in power since 1992. While this has ensured a peaceful transfer of power, it has also created a political duopoly that limits the space for alternative voices and perspectives. The two parties have been accused of engaging in self-serving politics, focusing more on winning elections than on addressing the needs and aspirations of the people. They have also been criticized for forming exclusionary governments that marginalize other parties, civil society groups and independent institutions.
• The lack of sustained political dialogue and national consensus on measures for resolving the challenges peacefully: Ghana faces many complex and interrelated challenges that require collective action and cooperation among all stakeholders. However, there is a lack of sustained political dialogue and national consensus on how to address these challenges in a peaceful and democratic manner. The two main parties often resort to confrontation and litigation rather than dialogue and negotiation. There is also a lack of trust and confidence among the various actors, such as the government, the opposition, the electoral commission, the judiciary, the media, the security forces, the traditional authorities, the religious leaders, the civil society organizations and the general public.
This hampers the prospects for finding common ground and building a shared vision for Ghana’s future.