14.06.2004 General News

ECOWAS to monitor elections in Ghana

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Accra, June 14, GNA - Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of African States (ECOWAS) on Monday said the Sub-Regional body would monitor the elections in Ghana and Niger. He said elections were significant and veritable tools and benchmarks in building democracies and "if we fail to manage them well, (they) can constitute potential cause of conflict and threat to peace and security".

Addressing the 15-member ECOWAS Council of Elders attending the workshop on election monitoring in Accra, he said the workshop served as grounds for equipping the members to understand the dynamics of election monitoring.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said, "it is crucial for the election to be monitored to ensure free, fair and credible results."

He said countries emerging from conflicts such as Liberia; Guinea Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire would also be going to the polls. Dr Winrich Kuhne, Director, German Centre for International Peace Operations, noted the importance of civilian personnel in international peacekeeping and election observation missions.

He expressed concern about the lack of adequate preparation for personnel often deployed to the field to monitor elections and noted that the German Government in collaboration with the civil society was working to equip them to monitor elections more effectively. The workshop would examine new trends in electoral matters and discuss lessons from past missions. It would also develop sub-regional mutual systems of cooperation and support, which would be guided by strict rules for democratic engagement.

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