Monday, December 15, 2008

Elections in Ghana

A few days ago the BBC reported that the elections in Ghana are heading to a run-off.

Either its a sign of the times, or goes to show how important diaspora money is, but both candidates, Akufo-Addo of the ruling NPP and John Atta-Mills of previous ruling party NDC, have good websites up.

I am not a fan of the NDC powerhouse Jerry Rawlings, who ran the country as basically a dictator from 1981 to 1992, then was "popularly" elected from 1993 to 2001. The positive side is that he could have become another Robert Mugabe, but instead decided to step down in 2001 and let his vice president, the very same John Atta-Mills, run against John Kufor. Kufor won, and power shifted in peace. This is, sadly, not the normal story for an African country losing its former dictator.

I had the opportunity to meet Atta-Mills in a grocery store when I lived in Ghana back in 2005. He was wandering the ailes. I would have completely missed him except that the family I was living with knew him personally and so went over to say "hi". When they introduced me I had an armful of groceries, so I gave him my left hand without thinking about it.

It wasn't until we got in the car that I realized both who he was, and how rude it was of me to give him my left hand. When I told my family I was embarressed to have done it, they said "don't worry about it, he knows a lot of foreigners and surely doesn't think you did it on purpose."

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