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07.06.2004 General News

Minister of Justice chides election observers

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Accra, June 7, GNA - Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Attorney General and Minister of Justice on Monday chided international and local Election Observers whom he accused of concentrating election monitoring on voting day activities to the detriment of pre and post election conditions.

"Let me sound a note of caution that in spite of the obvious importance of elections, we must not trifle pre-election and post-election environment to the success of the whole process". Papa Owusu-Ankomah made the comments at the beginning of a two-week international training programme on how to enhance capacity building for African Electoral observation.

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), University of Ghana in collaboration with Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna Pisa of Italy.

Papa Owusu-Ankomah commended the organisers of the programme for initiating the process of building indigenous African Election Observer base for election monitoring through the perspective of the geo-political conditions of each country.

He said: "I am anxiously waiting for the time when the Continent can boast of a corps of independent and dedicated African personalities of unquestionable integrity, acting as observers of the numerous democratic elections conducted within the Continent."

The Minister also admitted the difficulty of applying and upholding the elements of free and fair elections in Africa, stressing "many African countries have had disputed elections, witnessed several variants or negative mutations of the principles of free and fair elections".

Even though, Ghana had had three successive democratic elections since returning to democratic rule in 1992, which had earned the country the status of a good example of democracy in Africa yet it was not achieved on a silver platter.

Experts in Human Rights and Democratic Development, Political Analysts, the Academia and Journalists would use the next 11 days training programme to discuss how to increase the readiness and professionalism of African electoral observation and other electoral related issues.

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 20 participants are drawn from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa and Benin.

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