e l e k t i o n

[ 17:18 friday 1 december – mandela development centre , tamale ,
northern ghana ]

today has been decreed a national holiday so that everyone can spend the day praying for peaceful elections next week .

some of my informants have been getting a bit nervous . there is a feeling that the ruling ndc has too many skeletons in the closet after twenty-something years in power to be able to afford to lose . the president , mr rawlings , apparantly has troops (the sixty-four batallion ?) which are loyal to him personally . this , i am told , has alienated the regular army which is increasingly inclined towards the main opposition party , npp . there is a growing stream of squabbles about who has the right to announce the results and it now looks as though several groups are likely to do so independently . there are already whispered allegations of vote-rigging , bribery and electoral corruption .

meanwhile , it is said , the economy is on the verge of collapse or may have collapsed already . inflation is out of control and fuel prices have been kept artificially low in the run-up to the election . it is suggested that the subsidy may be as great as 50% by now .

none of this is encouraging , yet my impression is that the ghanaians are peaceful people . i am sure there will be a few scuffles but i think it is unlikely there will be anything worse .

ironically the americans donated some computers to ensure a “accurate and smooth” election . ouch .

this’ll probably be my last mail from ghana . unless i can’t resist taking the wretched computer with me on my travels .

: cH

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