The Carter Centre Pre-Election Assessment Delegation has recommended a more robust schedule of meetings between political parties and the Electoral Commission in order to diffuse the mistrust amongst them.
The centre observed that there is still misunderstanding and misapprehensions among political parties as well as the EC adding that there is the need for intensification of IPAC meetings and other initiatives with the objectives of building confidence in the EC in order to minimize the potential for electoral related violence.
The recommendation was made by Dr. John Stremlau, Vice-President for Peace Programme at the centre last Friday at a press briefing in Accra to announce the deployment of 50 short term observers in the first week of December in Ghana.
According to Dr. Stremlau the 50 observers would remain in the country until January 9, 2009 and would also be in close communication with many other international and domestic observation missions, which share their appreciation of Ghana's record as a democratic leader in West Africa and a signal of hope around the world.
He said the issue of underage registrants is a resolvable issue commending the steps taken by faith based organisations as well as that of parents in assisting to expunge names of minors from the voters register.
“These efforts, in addition to proactive measures on the part of all political parties, combined with the legal and administrative mechanisms in place, would serve to greatly diminish the potential problems of ineligibility,” he said.
He said series of meetings held between the delegation and stakeholders have revealed that there is an apparent problem arising from the limited registration period including the registration of minors and multiple registrations which has resulted in serious concerns leading to decreased confidence in the electoral process.
Dr. Stremlau commended the presidential candidates for their focus and policies during last Wednesday's debate saying that the move set the tone by the party leaders in an example for all who desire a successful and peaceful conclusions to this year's elections.
“There is still time for preventive and positive initiatives; it is within the power of the Ghanaian people and stakeholders to show their fidelity to the democratic institutions they have built so that the electoral system will yield results that accurately reflect the will of the people,” he said.
He said the assessment team spent a week having meetings with each of the parliament seat-holding political parties, the EC, civil society organisations including domestic observers, representatives from the media, business and faith based communities.
Dr. Stremlau assured that the centre would conduct its election observation in accordance with the Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation and Code of Conduct adopted at the United Nations in 2005.
The Carter Centre is a non-profit; Non-Governmental Organisation established in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. The centre has helped to improve life of people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production.