Did Mahama lose the 2016 elections by over 1 million votes?

On April 19, 2024, Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin held a press conference during which he did a comparative analysis of the track record of the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) government led by Nana Akufo-Addo against the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

The Member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency stressed that the ruling NPP has delivered on its promises by implementing policies such as the Free Senior High School and removing some taxes during the government’s early days in office. He said the opposition NDC, on the other hand, is made up of the same crop of leaders led by John Dramani Mahama, who failed to deliver during their tenure in office and were defeated in the 2016 elections.

“The NDC has not changed since 2016 when they lost the elections by over 1 million votes,” Mr Afenyo-Markin said.

In recent years, many politicians have made the same claim that John Mahama lost the 2016 elections by over one million votes.

In an X post on February 5, 2024, titled “The John Mahama Fact”, the spokesperson for Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s campaign, Dennis Miracles Aboagye, made the same claim.

“His defeat in 2016 was the largest defeat of any sitting president in Ghana and Africa, with over one million votes. For a sitting president to be ousted from office with over one million votes has never happened in Ghana.”

In May 2023, while speaking about John Mahama’s bid to run as a presidential candidate in 2024, a leading member of the NPP and Managing Director of Intercity STC Coaches, Nana Akomeah, made the same claim.

“His [John Mahama] defeat in 2016 was the largest defeat of any sitting president in Ghana and Africa, with over one million votes,” he said.

In this article, Fact-Check Ghana reviews the election results for 2016 and presents the facts as follows.

On December 9, 2016, two days after Ghanaians went to the polls, the Electoral Commission’s (EC) Chair, Charlotte Osei, who is the returning officer for the presidential election, declared the results of the December 7 polls.

The outcome of the presidential election was announced without results from four constituencies namely Afram Plains North, Upper West Akim, Sawla Tuna Kalba and Tamale Central.

 The EC Chair explained that results from the said areas were yet to be collated due to dispute over the outcome and noncompletion of counting in one of the constituencies because electorates there couldn’t vote on the 7th but the next day.

The voter population of the 4 Constituencies –summed up to 220,270.

“However, we believe that the results of those 4 constituencies are immaterial to the final outcome of the presidential results and so we announce the results without those 4 constituencies,” Ms. Osei said.

Total valid votes cast in the 271 out of the total 275 constituencies were 10,615,361. Of this, Nana Akufo-Addo of the NPP polled 5,716,026 votes while Mr. Mahama of the NDC obtained 4,713,277 votes. The difference between the two leading candidates was 1,002,749 votes at the time.

However, when the final results including the 4 constituencies were published by the EC, the margin dropped below a million votes.

The official results show Nana Akufo-Addo secured 5,767,076 votes as against 4,807,229 Mahama polled in all the 275 constituencies. This brought down the margin of defeat the NDC candidate suffered to 959,847 votes.

2016 Election results for 275 constituencies for John Mahama and Akufo-Addo

Name Number of Votes
Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo (NPP) 5,767,076
John Dramani Mahama (NDC) 4,807,229

Source: EC Ghana

Therefore, claims suggesting that John Mahama lost the 2016 elections by over one million are false.

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