UN Deputy Secretary-General Encourages Stakeholders in Ghana to “Stay on Track” in maintaining a strong enabling Environment for peaceful and credible elections.
During her visit to Ghana recently, the UN Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), Ms. Amina J. Mohammed underscored the importance of free and fair elections.
Ghanaians will go to the polls on 7th December 2020. This will be the eighth general elections in the Fourth Republic since 1992, an achievement that has earned Ghana a positive reputation of a strong and deepening democratic state. This year’s presidential and parliamentary elections is yet another test to Ghana’s maturing democracy.
During her visit to Ghana recently, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), Ms. Amina J. Mohammed underscored the importance of free and fair elections that is peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible and administered by strong, confident and reliable electoral institutions.
The DSG met with the leadership of the Electoral Commission led by the Chairperson Mrs. Jean Mensa to discuss the state of preparedness for elections and how the United Nations can continue to support this process. The EC Chair, Mrs. Mensa, highlighted a number of significant achievements, challenges encountered and how the EC has responded and addressed those challenges, citing transparency, regular updates on the Commission’s preparations towards the elections, and immediate response to complaints as the hallmark to ease tensions around the elections. She informed the DSG that, with three weeks to go for the December elections, the EC is 97% ready and does not foresee any setback. The DSG, in commending the EC on its preparedness, called on the EC to continue dialoguing with key stakeholders in a view to creating an inclusive and conduce environment for holding elections. She also shared the idea of creating a “Youth Situation Room” in order to positively involve the youth in disseminating accurate and reliable information on the electoral process as part of ensuring credible information via social media (the key medium through which youth reengage).
The EC Chair recognized the UN’s support to Ghana’s electoral process and particularly in facilitating the work of the EC.
The DSG also met with a 6-member delegation of the National Peace Council, led by its newly appointed Chairperson, Rev. Dr. Ernest Adu-Gyamfi. She told the National Peace Council Board Members that “the enthusiasm and expectations of stakeholders and the people of Ghana are very high and [their] voice in keeping the peace is critical to ensuring peaceful elections”. In a sub-region with increasing conflict, this was crucial, the DSG stated, for the sustenance of peace in the country and by extension in West Africa and on the continent.
The Council presented a report on Eradicating Political Vigilantism in Ghana to the DSG and shared its ongoing efforts to promote peaceful elections and assist in defusing tensions at different levels such as creating awareness on the Vigilantism and Related Offenses Act, 2019 (Act 999).
In commending the Peace Council, the DSG encouraged tapping into Ghana’s strong network of Queen mothers to enhance the participation of women and youth in promoting peaceful elections.
At a press briefing at the end of her visit, the DSG wished Ghana success and peace in the upcoming elections, acknowledging that the stability in Ghana provides hope to build a more ambitious development programme and attract the finances necessary to recover from the socio-economic impacts of COVID 19 and build back better.