“Ghana is our neighbour, and our partner. What happens to our neighbour affects us, and it affects the wider neighbourhood. Therefore, it is in our interest as well as yours that Ghana remains peaceful, stable and democratic.”
Ambassador of the European Union to Ghana, Mrs. Diana Acconcia, said this when she presented the relationship between the EU and Ghana as well as the importance the EU attached to the coming elections in Ghana on December 7.
Mrs. Acconcia was speaking at a day’s conference in Tamale, which was organised by the Northern Development and Democratic Institute, NDDI, a think tank based in Tamale.
The theme of the conference was “Delivering peaceful, free, fair and credible elections - a responsibility for all Ghanaians.”
“On the African continent, Ghana remains a champion of democratically elected governments. Since 1992, the country is proud to have had free and fair elections. There have been 7 of them, we are going towards the 8th, and there were no less than three peaceful transitions of power,” Mrs. Acconcia pointed out.
She added that, even the hotly contested 2012 Presidential Elections, petitioned at the Supreme Court, eventually saw all parties abiding by the ruling and that was evidence and viable foundations for democracy in this country.
She was sure that many eyes all over the world were turned to Ghana’s 2020 elections and went on to list what the European Union was doing to support the elections.
“First of all, we continue to work with our long-standing local partners that have proven to make a meaningful change when it comes to promotion of voters’ rights and contribution to a peaceful conduct of the elections. The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is one of these trusted partners. We will support it in the provision of large-scale civic education, and awareness-raising campaigns on threats of violence.
“Secondly, we will assist Ghana in addressing various security threats in the most vulnerable Northern regions of the country, close cooperation with security actors, local NGOs, regional peace councils, traditional leaders and civil society.
Collectively, we endeavour to prevent political radicalisation. This is done through development of key actors’ capacities in early warning, conflict resolution, and mediation.
“Finally, I am pleased to inform you that an EU Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) has been deployed to Ghana for this year’s election. The role of this mission will be to monitor the electoral process, compared to both national and international standards.”
She said “They will issue a final report with findings and suggest recommendations on possible improvements of the electoral cycle in the future. The mission will not interfere in any way with the process and will keep strict impartiality, following a precise code of conduct.
Mrs. Acconcia said Ghanaians should know that, “these are your elections not ours. You vote to decide your next government, and we will work with the Government you elect. We do not support a party, a candidate, a manifesto. We support democracy in Ghana, through an inclusive, transparent and credible electoral process.”
She added that, “strong democratically elected institutions, that abide by the rule of law, lay the conditions for sustainable job creation, women's empowerment, infrastructure development, and local economic development in the long term.”
She hoped that with the nation’s collective efforts, the elections will be “inclusive, transparent, credible, and above all peaceful.”
Mr. Mustapha Sanah, Executive Chairman of the NDDI urged all the political players, CSOs, media, security and youth groups to rededicate themselves for a peaceful election. Adding that ‘’ our country is the best place to live in the world’’ He said.
According to Mr. Sanah, the EC had what it tookj to deliver and therefore appealed to all and sundry to support the Commission.
Other speakers at the conference included; Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, UN General-Secretary’s Special Envoy in West Africa and Sahel region; International Development Expert Madam Lawrencia Simpson Adams; Chairman of the Northern Development Authority, Dr Hakeem Wemah; Chairman of the National Media Commission, Mr. Yaw Boadu Ayeboafoh, president of Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, His Eminence Dr Osmanu Nuhu Sharabutu, National Chief Imam and Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi.
Ya-Na Abukari II, Overlord of Dagbon was the Special Guest of Honour, while Prof. Haruna Yakubu, former vice chancellor of the University for Development Studies chaired the conference.