Film review: Watching an African Election

This article examines the role of the National Election Security Task Force (NESTF) in the 2012 elections in Ghana. It traces the history of electoral politics in Ghana’s Fourth Republic, highlighting significant developments and security challenges from 1992, with a particular focus on the 2012 elections. The structure, composition and powers as well as the functions of the NESTF are discussed. The article further examines the performance of the NESTF during all three phases of the elections relative to security challenges, responses and emerging issues that require urgent policy reforms. Based on face-to-face interviews and participant observations, the article concludes that the 2012 elections were not only keenly contested but all three phases were marred by extreme violence, particularly because of the novelty of the biometric voter registration and verification system. While commending various election stakeholders such as the Electoral Commission of Ghana, we argue that although the election results were contested in court, the NESTF, in particular, played an exemplary role in averting possible conflict after the declaration of the results. We recommend, however, that in subsequent elections the security forces should be seen to be neutral and government should also ensure adequate provision of logistics, transport and communication devices to ensure free, fair and violence-free elections.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol12 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa