Since 1992, Ghana has held relatively peaceful and credible national elections every four years.



Since 1992, Ghana has held relatively peaceful and credible national elections every four years.

Ghana National Election 2016

2016 National Elections

On December 7th, 2016, Ghana held largely peaceful presidential and legislative elections, after a tense pre-election period which included some incidents of violence.  To reduce tensions and dissuade violence before, on, and after election day, all seven presidential candidates pledged their commitment to peaceful polls by signing the Accra Declaration, which was organized by the National Peace Council. This reflects Ghana’s broader commitment to transparent, free, and inclusive democratic processes. 

Before the Election

The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) deployed 138 long-term observers (LTOs) to track the general political environment, including election-related preparatory activities by state and non-state actors, civic/voter education programs as well as political party campaign activities. Guided by a checklist, bi-weekly field reports were submitted from August 1, 2016 - November 18, 2016 by the LTOs in 138 randomly-selected constituencies covering all 10 regions of Ghana.

Ghana Pre-Election Election-Related Violence Specifically Targeting Women

During the pre-election period observers reported very few incidents of election-related violence, intimidation, or harassment specifically directed at women. Of the cumulative 1059 observation, from 138 observers over the pre-election period, there were only two occasions where observers witnessed incidents of violence directed and women and three reported instances where observers heard of these incidents. This is generally in line with anecdotal evidence, news, and reports from NDI’s international election day delegation.

Ghana Pre-Election Election-Related Violence

Observed incidents of election-related violence, intimidation, and harassment were relatively low. Of the bi-weekly pre-election observations by 138 observers, these types of incidents were witnessed fourteen times and heard of 31 times, while 1014 observations showed that the observer did not hear of or witness such acts during that biweekly period. This data is congruent with initial reports of a tense pre-election period, with various reported acts of violence throughout the country. 

Ghana Pre-Election Observation of CSOs Conducting Women Candidate Training

During the pre-election period, there were 25 observations of civil society organizations (CSOs) conducting women candidate trainings and 79 instances of observers hearing of such trainings occurring. While this does not indicate the absence or presence of election violence, it is important to note that community involvement in fostering an inclusive atmosphere for female politicians and voters contributes to tolerance and the progression of society towards equality.

Ghana Pre-Election Party Campaign Platform or Leading Speaker Feature a Woman

During the pre-election period, 75 percent of CODEO observations, recorded by the 138 LTO observers during bi-weekly observation periods, noted that political parties did not feature women in their campaign platform or as a leading speaker during that bi-weekly period. At the high end, the NPP party was observed including a woman in their platform or as a leading speaker in 210 observations, 39 for the NDC party, and 2 for the CPP party. These observations show that women were significantly less visible than men in the election campaigns. 

Pre-Election Findings Summary

CODEO-observed incidents of violence against women were low during the pre-election period. This, coupled with anecdotal evidence and other pre-election indicators including empowerment and party inclusion indicates that while violence may be low, Ghana has room to improve in encouraging women’s political participation.

Election Day

Continuing its commitment to election observation in Ghana, CODEO deployed 7,000 nonpartisan citizen observers to all 275 constituencies in the country. Of these, a random and representative sample of 1,500 conducted a parallel vote tabulation (PVT) to observe the opening, voting and counting process. Due to the absence of gender disaggregated data, there is no way to determine whether the few reported incidents of harassment on election day were perpetrated against or by women, which is why we have decided not to include these data here.

NDI Gender, Women and Democracy logo

Electoral violence undermines democratic elections, which are a cornerstone of democratic governance. Violence against women in elections is a particular form of electoral violence, motivated by a desire to prevent women from participating in the electoral process, which sees women attacked for daring to participate in elections. Learn More About Votes Without Violence