Ghana Opposition Protests in Stronghold Before Court Challenge

Supporters of Ghana’s main opposition party, whose leader lost the Dec. 7 presidential election, are holding a demonstration in the second-biggest city as they prepare a legal challenge to the result.

“Our supporters have kept faith with us and are currently embarking on a peaceful protest in Kumasi,” John Owusu-Afriyie, New Patriotic Party general secretary, said by phone today from the capital, Accra. Kumasi is in the Ashanti region, a stronghold of the NPP where Nana Akufo-Addo received 71 percent of votes. Nationally, he won 47.7 percent, losing to John Dramani Mahama of the ruling National Democratic Congress, who got 50.7 percent, according to the Electoral Commission.

The NPP, which governed Ghana from 2001 to 2009, said there were discrepancies in the results tallied at polling stations and those announced by the Electoral Commission. Kwadwo Afari- Gyan, chairman of the body, denied the claims and foreign and domestic observer groups said the election was fair.

The demonstrators will present a petition to the Ashanti regional office of the commission after the protest, Owusu- Afriyie said, without giving details. The NPP said last week it would contest the election results in the country’s Supreme Court in Accra.

Preparations for the challenge are “quite far advanced,” Owusu-Afriyie said. The party has analyzed 23,000 polling station results out of the more than 26,000 centers, he said. “We believe we have compelling evidence.”

Owusu-Afriyie said the NPP will head to court “by the end December,” in line with judiciary rules that give 21 days to contest election results. “The Electoral Commission will have 10 days to respond,” he said.

Ghana’s cedi, which fell to a two-week low last week after the NPP pledged to contest the election result, weakened 0.1 percent to 1.8948 a dollar by 11:10 a.m. in Accra, the third day of declines, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ekow Dontoh in Accra at edontoh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

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