Bottom Line: Everyone is bracing for violence as the Supreme Court in Ghana officially announces 29 August as the date for the pronouncement of its final verdict for an opposition petition to overturn December 2012 elections.
Analysis: The US Embassy in Ghana has issued a warning to its citizens of the possibility of isolated violence following the 29 August verdict. Immediately following the US issuance of the warning to its citizens, the government of Ghana rejected this assessment, saying that while some precautionary measures might be necessary due to high political tensions, it did not anticipate any violence following the Supreme Court verdict.
The Supreme Court case is unprecedented in Africa. The Court has been hearing the case for over three months, and on 29 August will announce its final verdict, which will either favor the president or the petitioners in the form of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its presidential candidate Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who only narrowly lost the December 2012 elections to President John Mahama. The NPP is claiming irregularities in the new biometric voting system and is calling for an annulment of the election results.
Recommendation: There is more likelihood that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of President Mahama, in the interests of stability. The process has dragged on for long enough to ensure that Mahama is entrenched in office and will be difficult to remove. Regardless of whom the final verdict favors, we should be prepared for potential isolated violence. There is more chance of violent upheaval if there is an attempt to remove Mahama from power at this point, but certain fringe support groups attached to the NPP are also likely to create agitation if the verdict is in favor of Mahama. We will continue to follow developments in Ghana closely, and remind you to review our in-depth report on the situation in last week’s Premium Newsletter. For private clients, we are particularly following the energy sector, the evolving power brokers, and potential changes in energy leadership and regulations as a result of the political situation.