Nana Akufo-Addo has been sworn in for a second term as Ghana’s president, hours after scuffles between rival politicians broke out in parliament. Soldiers were briefly deployed after the unusual scenes in one of Africa’s most stable democracies.
The president defeated his main rival, former President John Mahama, in December’s tightly fought election. He faces the twin challenges of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and trying to boost the economy.
Ghana has had more than 50,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and like many countries has experienced major economic disruption.
Things came to a head in parliament while MPs were voting on a new speaker. The situation escalated after one MP snatched a ballot paper and tried to run out of the building with it.
“There was total breakdown of law and order,” said MP-elect Kwame Twumasi Ampofo of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Scuffles between MPs from the NDC and Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP), neither of which has a majority, were eventually broken up by soldiers who briefly intervened.
An NDC MP, Alban Bagbin, was later sworn in as speaker. It is the first time Ghana has a president and speaker from different parties.