The Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) has deployed observers to Ghana’s December 7, 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Former Interim President of Liberia’s Government of National Unity, Amos Sawyer, is leading the ECOWAS short-term observer mission for the elections.
The mission would ascertain the free, transparent and credible conduct of the elections.
The 94-member delegation comprises 80 short -term observers and 14 long-term observers.
The short-term observers are from all Member States of the ECOWAS, except for Ghana, and the Community’s Parliament.
The short-term mission also comprises members of the civil society, representatives of Electoral Commissions in West Africa, Ambassadors of Member States accredited to the ECOWAS, and observers from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre.
The 14 long-term observers, who have been deployed since November 27, are experts in security, gender, electoral operations, constitutional laws and political affairs.
The observers would be support by a technical team from the ECOWAS Commission. The team will comprise of the Commission’s Vice President, Edward Singhatey and its Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs Halima Ahmed.
The Director of Political Affairs, Dr Remi Ajibewa, the Head of the Electoral Assistance Unit, Francis Oke, the Acting Head of the Communications Unit, Liberor Doscof Aho, and other officials of the institution will also form part of this team.
The observers would be deployed throughout the nine geographical regions, to observe and monitor all the pre-election, election and post-election polling operations.
The mission is expected to comment on the conduct of the elections based on their observation on the conformity, transparency, fairness and smooth conduct of the legislative and presidential elections.
“At the end of the elections, the ECOWAS observer mission will present its view and where the need arises make recommendations to the different stakeholders in the election process.
The Head of the Mission, Amos Sawyer, is therefore expected to make a preliminary statement at a press conference that will be held in Accra on Thursday 8 December 2016”, said a statement issued by the ECOWAS Commission and made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
“ECOWAS appeals to candidates, leaders of political parties as well as activists and sympathisers, for the conduct of the elections in an atmosphere of peace, calm, and national cohesion,” the statement said.
Seven candidates are vying for the presidential slot in the elections. They include the incumbent John Dramani Mahama, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), and Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, of the National Democratic Party (NDP).
The rest are Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Papa Kwesi Nduom, of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Edward Mahama, of the People’s National Convention (PNC), and the Independent Candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah.
Some 1158 persons are also contesting for 275 parliamentary seats in the elections