Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of United Nations Office for West Africa, Dr. Ibn Chambass, has urged Ghana and The Gambia, to ensure that their upcoming elections are peaceful and free from intimidation and violence.
He has thus asked the leaders of the two countries who go to the polls this year, to ensure a level playing field for all political parties in their respective countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the ongoing 49th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Dakar, Dr. Ibn Chambas urged the two countries to create the needed conditions that will ensure the elections are without any incidents.
Dr. Ibn Chambas further called for measures such as protection for the various flagbearers as well as a free to act within an allowable space, to ensure legitimacy of the results that will come out of the process.
“Naturally, we expect the Ghana and the Gambia will follow suit by holding inclusive, credible, transparent and peaceful elections. To that end, necessary conditions should be created to ensure level playing fields including security for the candidates and unhindered access to the media and to all parts of the territory for campaigns as pre-requisite for acceptance of elections which accord legitimacy” Dr. Chambass stressed.
According to him, the sub-region has proven to rise above such things and it is the responsibility of the leaders gathered in Dakar that the region does not return to the dark days.
He however noted with appreciation recent developments regarding peaceful elections in the sub-region.
Economic Partnership Agreement
The 49th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Dakar, is expected among others, to resolve some pertinent issues affecting the Sub-Region.
It has also elected a new chair for the Authority in the person of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The summit will also receive briefing from member states on the Economic partnership agreement.
Most of the countries within the sub-region, especially Nigeria, had previously raised objections about the agreement however, all the countries were asked from previous meetings to go back and deliberate so the sub-regional body takes a concrete decision.
With the deadline by the European Union inching closer, leaders are expected at this meeting to forge ahead with a common stance informed by country specific concerns.
The leaders are also expected to discuss how to implement closer collaboration measures at fighting Boko Haram and emerging security threats in the sub-Region.
By: Richard Mensah/citifmonline.com/Ghana