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General News of Friday, 9 December 2016


Ghana polls ‘generally peaceful’ - AU Mission

The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) has urged stakeholders in Ghana’s electioneering process to ensure a peaceful post-election environment after the results have been declared.

The regional body observed that Ghana’s election was generally peaceful and commended the efforts of the Electoral Commission to ensure a transparent poll.

Speaking at a press conference about their observation during and after Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7, the head of the mission, who is also a former president of Namibia, Lucas Hifikepunye Pohamba said: “The AU mission takes note of the effort by the Electoral Commission to ensure transparent and credible elections in the 2016 elections through its implementation of necessary reforms and engagement with stakeholders throughout the process. The mission observes that the EC was adequately prepared for the 2016 polls and adhered to the electoral calendar. Despite delays in some regions, the mission notes the timely delivery of electoral materials to various polling stations and to some polling stations ahead of the election.”

The mission however raised concerns with the accuracy of the voters’ register which, according to them, include names of deceased persons, minors, and some foreigners. Mr Pohamba noted that despite the mission observing that Ghana’s constitution and the legislative framework largely comply with regional and international norms for democratic elections, the legal framework did not adequately regulate campaign processes, as some politicians used intemperate language in their campaigns. Namibia’s second post-independence leader said although the mission observed that among the presidential candidates there was a woman, “which was encouraging”, as a maturing democracy and in line with the regional and continental norms, Ghana is expected to provide an enabling environment for more women’s participation in key decision-making quarters and in particular as leaders of political parties.

“The AU commends Ghana as a strong and independent institution for dealing with disputes, especially the judiciary for adjudicating electoral disputes, and the National Peace Council for creating an enabling environment for a generally peaceful 2016 election. While the mission notes that the electoral process is yet to be completed, it calls on leaders of these institutions to continue playing positive role in ensuring a peaceful post-election environment,” Mr Pohamba added.