Ibn Chambas urges EC to prioritise transparency

By
Iddi Yire, GNA

Accra, Sept. 9, GNA – The Electoral
Commission (EC) must ensure transparency in all the phases of Ghana’s electoral
process in order to build public confidence.

Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the Special
Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa, and the
Sahel, who gave the advice, tasked the EC to, consequently, safeguard against
fraud and ensure that its decisions were published in a timely manner.

He said during polling and counting,
detailed results needed to be swiftly displayed at each level of the process,
broken down to lowest level (usually polling station level but sometimes
counting centre level) to enable an independent audit to be conducted and
results to be traced from the lowest to the highest levels.

“At each stage of the process, best
practices and safeguards exist to enhance transparency and reduce the
possibility of fraud, including for voter identification, secrecy of the ballot,
numbering of ballot papers and the secure handling of polling materials,”
Dr Chambas stated at a public lecture on Peaceful Elections in Ghana.

The lecture on the theme: “Reducing the
Incidence of Violence in Election 2016 and Beyond”, was organised by the Kofi
Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), in collaboration
with STAR-Ghana and the Multimedia Group.

He said despite the best precautions,
disputes would always occur but as a means to build and maintain trust among
stakeholders, an efficient, timely and transparent complaints and appeals
process towards enjoying public confidence was an important aspect of a
credible election process.

He said: “Where this is not the case,
contestants can be reluctant to seek redress through formal procedures thereby
increasing the chances of violence”.

He, however, appealed to all contestants in
the December 7 general election to use constitutional and legal means to
address their grievances.

Dr Chambas said electoral violence would
manifest itself in many forms such as defamation, kidnapping and scuffles;
which were meant to impact on the electoral process and ultimately influence
results.

“It is essential that each and every
concerned individual assumes his or her role to prevent such an occurrence from
happening in Ghana,” he said.

“In order to accomplish this, political
parties must know that they have a primary role in educating their supporters
to promote a culture of peace, dialogue, and consensus,” he added.

He said the Electoral Commission, the
Judiciary and other Republican institutions such as the Police and other
security agencies, must be strengthened in the accomplishment of their mission
and in the neutrality of t their task.

He also called on civil society
organisations, religious leaders and chiefs to assume their important role in
this national endeavour.

Dr Ibn Chambas said in reducing the risk of
violence in the 2016 Elections should include fine-tuning the electoral
process; particularly through building public trust and confidence especially
towards the election management body, the judiciary and the security agencies.

“The UN and the wider international
community are impressed by your collective commitment and remains convinced of
the strength of Ghana’s democratic tradition, and stands ready to contribute
its share so that this election again represents the true aspiration of the
people of Ghana,” Dr Chambas said.

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor in a
statement read on his behalf, urged the EC to work with political parties to
boost their confidence and trust in the outcome of the general election.

He said the media had a huge responsibility
of ensuring smooth voting in the election.

The Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, the
Chairman of the National Peace Council, challenged Ghanaians to shun
politicians who used abusive language on their campaign platforms.

Air Vice Marshal Griffiths Evans, the
Commandant of the KAIPTC, said despite Ghana’s huge democratic credentials
since 1992, there was the need to preserve and consolidate the gains.

GNA

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