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General News of Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Build strong election observation system to enhance democracy - Brigadier Kotia

The Deputy Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Brigadier Gen. Emmanuel Kotia, has urged Ghana and other African countries to build a strong election observation system to enhance their democracies.

“For an election to have integrity, it must not only be conducted by election management bodies with full independence in a professional and non-partisan manner, but it must also be certified to be free, fair and credible by election observers,” he stressed.

He was speaking at the opening session of a one-week training course on long-term election observation organised in Accra last Monday and being funded by the German government.

Course

The pilot training course, aimed at developing the capacity of security agencies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to efficiently monitor elections in Ghana and other African countries, is the initiative of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission and the KAIPTC.

Thirty participants drawn from ECOWAS member countries will be taken through modules such as Institutional Perspectives, International and Regional Obligations and Commitments to Elections, Election Principles and Framework for Analysis, and Structure and Roles of Long-term Election Observation.

When completed, the initiative is expected to be expanded to cover more participants in the sub-region who will provide technical expertise on pre-election, election and post-election services.   

Capacity building

Brigadier Gen. Kotia said the advocacy for transparent and credible elections in the country and other parts of Africa required that the capacity of CSOs and security agencies were built to properly police the electoral process.

“Democratic elections are the indispensable root of democracy and have become imperative for assessing national security, political stability, and socio-economic development. Election observers are key to achieving this feat,” he stated.

He said the initiative had come at an opportune time given the fact that there was an increasing demand by citizens in African countries for free, fair and transparent elections.

While commending the German government for making funds available for the training programme, he urged countries in the sub-region to take advantage of the course to build their democracies.