07.06.2004 General News

African Election observer seminar opens in Ghana

07.06.2004 LISTEN

Accra, June 7, GNA - Twenty participants from 11 Africa countries on Monday began a two-week international training programme on how to enhance capacity building for African electoral observation.

Experts in the field of Human Rights, Democratic Development, Political Analysts, Academia and media practitioners would use the next 11 days to discuss how to increase the readiness and professionalism of African electoral observation and other electoral related analysis. They would also seek to enhance their capacity to respond effectively to the complex challenges of pre and post-election observation within the African perspective.

The programme, under the theme: "Peace-Building and Good Governance for African Civilian Personnel," is being organised by the Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA) of the University of Ghana in collaboration with Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa of Italy. Professor Kofi Kumado, Director of LECIA, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the essence of the programme was to build electoral observer capacity for indigenous Africans, who understood the geo-political environment on the Continent.

He explained that most often African elections were judged from the perspective of non-African observers who failed to consider the geo-political environment.

These situations had created problems for electoral bodies and managers, reduced confidence in the electoral process and often heighten political tension between the winners and losers.

Prof Kumado said trainees would serve as a power base for the African Union for the selection of election observers to monitor African elections, stressing "we need to reduce the influence of non-Africans in the determination of Electoral results".

Mr Samuel M. Kivuitu, Chairman of Kenyan Electoral Commission, identified lack of adequate resources and training, over-dependence on the donor community, and lack of basic yardstick for analysis, monitoring and reporting on elections as some of the problems faced by African Election Observers.

He commended the programme organiser for initiating and establishing the foundation for the building-up of a core indigenous African observer base for the African Union.

Professor Kwesi Yankah, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ghana, who chaired the opening session, urged the participants to take the opportunity to strengthen their capacities, expertise and knowledge based in election observation from the African perspective. The 20 participants are from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa and Benin. May 7 2004

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