After attending last night’s showing of An African Election hosted by accra[dot]alt, I defy any Ghanaian to watch this documentary and not to come away with a sense of pride in their democratic achievements!
This incredibly gripping and engaging documentary by Jarreth Merz portrays the real drama of the 2008 elections, climaxing with potential for civil unrest, and its resolution with the election of the now deceased John Atta Mills. Merz follows the main characters in the two main parties – the NPP and the NDC – as they plan strategies, speak at rallies and talk directly to us, showing them as human beings with fairly similar policies. In doing so it demystifies and explains the election process filming the voting in the different regions and how votes are collected, counted and collated with all the drama that goes along with it!
The film has been used as a training tool not just for the Ghanaians, civil society organisations and politicians but also for other African countries. It has been shown overseas changing people’s perceptions of Ghana and getting foreign youth interested in the political process in their own countries.
Why did elections go so badly wrong in other parts of the continent whereas Ghana pulled it together? The film suggests the answer is to be found partly in the foundation left by Nkrumah.
The documentary is being taken around Ghana and dubbed into different local languages to involve communities in discussion around the democratic process. An important message of the film is the fragility of democracy and that it is a process we all evolve with.
Also present was the social media and communication strategist, Kwabena Oppong Boateng from Ghana Decides 2012 who are using social media to present accurate information about the elections, train politicians in the use of social media and to monitor the types of comments and rumours that are spread. Aware that not everyone has access to the internet, they also outreach to local communities, educate them about the upcoming elections, then present their stories on social media. The question and answer with the director and Ghana Decides that followed further illuminated the issues.
- Filming democracy in Ghana: Jarreth Merz on TED.com (ted.com)
- Ghana’s transition sets democratic example – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)