Former Liberian President, Prof Amos Sawyer, has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to strictly abide by the ECOWAS principle on the conduct of free and fair elections.
He also urged the EC to ensure a level playing field and take measures to prevent abuses, either by the incumbent party or the opposition.
Prof Sawyer made the call when he addressed a summit organised by the Ghana First Forum, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Secretariat, on the theme, “Ghana must win — Towards election 2008”, in Accra.
The forum is a non-profit think tank dedicated to the economic and social transformation of Ghana.
Prof Sawyer, who is also the leader of the ECOWAS delegation to the summit, admonished the EC to exhibit the highest level of professional competence, fairness and individual and collective integrity.
“I need not tell you how to do this because I know you know how. I am only, at the risk of repeating the obvious, enjoining you to do your job with all levels of fairness, bearing in mind that your action or lack of it may positively or adversely affect the political future of Ghana,” he stressed.
Prof Sawyer lauded Ghana's role in the promotion of the unity of the African continent, particularly in bringing about the emergence of the first continental body, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
He said successive leaders of Ghana, both military and civilian, continued to contribute to the unity of the continent, adding, “Your country means a lot to me, a Liberian, because of the role Ghana played in ending 14 years of violent conflict in Liberia.”
He said when the Western world was pre-occupied with the first war in Iraq and Liberia was left to implode in violence, it was Ghana that first proposed that ECOWAS find a way to end the carnage.
Prof Sawyer said Nigeria, Ghana and Guinea became the drivers of the ECOWAS peace initiative in Liberia, long before the larger international community became involved in peace-making and peacekeeping in Liberia.
“I am happy to be here in my present capacity as the leader of the ECOWAS delegation that will endeavour to see that conditions that are conducive to the holding of free, fair and credible elections in December do exist,” he said.
He announced that a team of eminent members of the ECOWAS Council would soon be holding consultations with all the stakeholders in order to ensure that the playing field was level and the sovereignty of the people to choose their own government was respected and enhanced.
Prof Sawyer said Ghana had blazed the trail in the political emancipation of the continent and had also in the recent past acted as a model for compliance with basic principles of democracy and commended its vision of becoming a catalyst for economic and social transformation.
The Chairman of UNILEVER Ghana, Mr Ishmael Yamson, said the nation had played a pivotal role in assisting other African countries and said the world was looking up to Ghanaians to exhibit a high level of responsibility in the upcoming elections.
“We have witnessed so many elections, but the forthcoming one is that which the world will be focusing on,” he said.
He urged political leaders to be constructive in the deliberations and base their campaigns on issues affecting the totality of Ghanaians.
In a welcoming address, the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Analysis, Dr Joe Abbey, said good governance was a key requirement for political development in any political set up and urged political leaders and the EC to ensure credible elections.
Story by Timothy Gobah & MacLiberty Misrowoda