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General News of Monday, 5 December 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Ghana must inspire us again - Commonwealth urges

The Commonwealth Observer group has urged Ghanaians to repeat another democratic feat in organising free and fair elections that have made it an inspirational example in the Commonwealth.

Head of the international observer group and former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki told the media that after six successful elections, there is considerable confidence within the commonwealth that the seventh attempt will be peaceful.

Ghanaians go to the polls in 48 hours to elect a president and 275 parliamentarians.

The stakes are high between the governing NDC and main opposition NPP. A win for the governing NDC will be a record 12 years in government and a record 12 years in opposition for the NPP.

A win for NPP's Nana Akufo-Addo will end a third consecutive defeat and make him Ghana's oldest President at 72. A loss for John Mahama will make him a record one-term president.

After the 2012 presidential results ended in court in 2013, the Supreme Court gave a judgment that has sent signals to political parties that elections are won at the polling stations and not in court.

The NPP and the NDC are therefore poised to monitor the ballot with a sense of heightened vigilance which has increased the tension.

Speaking at a media interaction, the head of the Commonwealth Observer Mission stressed that Ghana is a "valued member" of the group of former British colonies because of its enviable track record in holding elections.

The Commonwealth has "experienced great pride and encouragement at all times when Ghana has made progress", Thabo Mbeki said.

The observer mission wants Ghanaians to inspire other sister countries by keeping the peace, before, during and after the general elections.



Photo: EC chairperson Charlotte Osei met with seven presidential candidates at the instance of the Commonwealth Observer Mission.

With "great humility", Thabo Mbeki called on Ghanaians to respect the Accra Declaration signed last Thursday in which seven presidential candidates pledged to keep the peace.

He said, "if any disputes should arise, it should be settled peacefully through the courts".

"No other option exists for the resolution of electoral disputes except the courts," he urged.

“Ghana must once again inspire Commonwealth by holding credible elections,” on December 7, he noted.

He urged that Ghanaians must work to ensure that the country remains true to maintaining peace and stability.

The former South African president applauded the signing of the Accra Peace Declaration by the political parties last week as a bold example that others countries must emulate.

Mr Mbeki further admonished that Ghanaians must respect what the parties have signed at the Accra declaration and added that, if there is any dispute after the elections, it must be settled in the court.

He cautioned political parties to respect the results that will be declared by the Electoral Commission (EC) after the election, stressing that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”