The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has commended the Electoral Commission (EC) for conducting free, fair, credible polls, last year, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He noted that Ghana’s 1992 Constitution does not make provision for the postponement of election, a reason steps taken by the EC to ensure that the December 7 General election came off as scheduled is laudable.

Mr. Dame was speaking at the opening of a five-day training workshop for Commonwealth Election Professionals Initiative Africa in Accra.

“Election must be held even under trying conditions of the world forced by covid 19, I’m happy to say the Electoral Commission of Ghana clearly has a sound appreciation of this sacred constitutional responsibility it bears to the people of Ghana. As the record clearly reflects it remained unshaken in its quest to give to the people of Ghana an opportunity to select their own leadership to the nation when it had the chance to do so in the year 2020”.

Speaking on the theme: “Delivering credible and inclusive elections in the era of COVID-19: Building public trust and confidence throughout the electoral cycle”,   Mr. Dame said the 1992 Constitution does NOT  give room for an extension of the term of Office of a President, a situation which could have easily plunged the country into chaos.

“The failure of the Electoral Commission of Ghana to have organized elections just on the account of Covid-19 would have plunged the country into a constitutional crisis. A careful scrutiny of our Constitution shows that the Constitution did not anticipate any reduction or retention of the term of the President except in circumstances set out in the Constitution itself”.

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The Deputy Chairman of the EC, in charge of Operations, Samuel Tettey, said the training will address regional electoral needs to deliver credible elections. He encouraged participants to leverage the opportunity the workshop presents to share knowledge and experiences to enhance work of their Election Management Teams.

“Participants are encouraged to share their national experiences and strategies, developed to mitigate issues and challenges encountered”.

Mr. Tettey said to ensure election outcomes are acceptable it must be transparent,  inclusive, accountable, and reflect the free expression of the will of the people. This he said will repose confidence in the electoral system.

Mr. Tettey acknowledged Covid 19, presented a challenge to the conduct of Ghana’s election, bringing to the fore the need to develop innovative approaches in terms of policy changes, institutional collaboration and postponement of election.

“The critical electoral issue to be addressed include the following, should election be held, how should an election be held in a covid 19 pandemic environment, how do we ensure no one is left out and how do we safeguard the integrity of the process to sustain the trust and confidence of electorates and stakeholders.  How do we ensure the integrity of the process and at the same time the health safety of voters and candidates?  How do we effectively deal with the covid-19 related global crisis of election materials and equipment and services”.

The Political Officer of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Lindiwe Maleleka said the training is a platform for the exchange of experiences in delivering credible elections in challenging times as well as the sharing of experiences. She said Ghana is the pacesetter in organizing elections on the African continent in the midst of covid-19, which she described as successful.

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“Ghana is one of the trailblazers in conducting election in the midst of the global pandemic”

The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Gregory Andrews said Australia has been supportive to the commonwealth in building inclusive and transparent democracy.  He commended Ghana for giving room to the Commonwealth to monitor its election.

Since 2013 the Commonwealth Election Professionals Initiative has built a capacity of more than two hundred and twenty electoral administrators from forty-eight Commonwealth Election Management Teams.

AMA GHANA is not responsible for the reportage or opinions of contributors published on the website.

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