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General News of Tuesday, 6 December 2016

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Demonstrate maturity at polls — Pohamba

A former President of Namibia and leader of the African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission, Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, has asked Ghana to demonstrate her maturity in democracy by holding a peaceful election.

Speaking on arrival in Accra yesterday ahead of the December 7 elections, he observed that the AU looked forward to a free, fair and transparent election that would be devoid of violence.

“From the AU perspective, we see Ghana as a big brother for some other African countries, for which reason we want to see the election being conducted in an atmosphere of peace, in accordance with democracy,” he added.

AU observers

The AU observation mission has been in the country for the past few weeks to observe and monitor the processes leading to the conduct of the December polls and to interact with key stakeholders such as the Electoral Commission (EC), political parties and security agencies towards credible elections.

The arrival of the head of the AU observer mission is expected to give a major boost to the effective policing of the electoral process, especially on the day of the polls.

Mr Pohamba is expected to receive briefing on the state of affairs from the other members of the team that have been in the country for some days now. He will also hold meetings with key stakeholders before the election takes place on Wednesday.

Stating the mission of the team, he added that “our task is to observe the election and on the basis of whether the processes are fair, peaceful and reflective of the wishes of the people. That is the wish of the AU for Ghana.”

‘Democracy is key’

He threw some light on the AU’s expectation of the country’s polls, saying that the AU agenda 2063 required member countries to uphold democratic principles that would protect the rights of all citizens.

Mr Pohamba observed that just as Ghana had been a torchbearer in the struggle for political independence on the continent, it was important to consolidate the democratic gains by removing all obstacles in the electoral process.

He called on all people who would, in one way or the other, play a role in the election, to put the interest of the public first rather than parochial interests.