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24.10.2008 General News

CHRAJ schools staff on election monitoring

By The Statesman

The Acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Anna Bossman, has observed that though the Electoral Commission had promised to conduct peaceful elections, the role of CHRAJ in advancing human rights and the democratic consolidation required vigilance during the elections to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.

She said the Commission was poised to assist in maintaining the credibility of the 2008 elections and protect citizens against undue and corrupt influence by some politicians.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop on election monitoring and observation for staff of CHRAJ, Ms Bossman said the Commission could contribute to enhancing the credibility of the election results thereby contributing to the maintenance of peace and stability in the country.

She disclosed that on Election Day - December 7, 2008 - the Commission would deploy about 400 officers in over 400 polling stations to observe the elections, noting, "This is why the importance of today's training cannot be overemphasized.

The training is to prepare our officers adequately to monitor the right to vote in a holistic manner.'

Ms Bossman said the key objective of the training workshop was to equip the Commission"s staff to serve as observers and effectively help the country realize free and fair elections.

She noted that the Commission's staff, alongside other observers, must be well equipped to properly document electoral offences and help combat electoral fraud as well as violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms before, during and after the general elections.

She reiterated that the Commission was very much concerned about free and fair elections that are vital to making democracy flourish in the country.

According to her, the workshop was therefore in line with the functions of the Commission to promote and protect the fundamental human rights and freedoms of persons in Ghana, including the right to vote in a free and fair environment.

 'In a democratic system such as Ghana, every citizen has the right to vote and be voted for.

This right, they have to exercise without being unduly influenced. The incidents of the elections of 1996, 2000, 2004: boycotts, abuse of incumbency, stolen verdicts, and allegations of a bloated register of an electoral area in Kumasi and the display of wealth and accusations of vote buying during party primaries, all suggest corruption and violations of people's right to free choice of candidate,' she stressed.