Voting in the 2008 Ghana elections
30 December 2008
The Group expresses hope that the incoming government will consolidate Ghana’s democratic gains further and foster political inclusiveness and cooperation
Click here for the departure statement
A Group of observers from the Commonwealth led by Rt. Hon Baroness Valerie Amos, former leader of the House of Lords in the UK and former Minister for Africa, was in Ghana for the Presidential run-off election which took place on 28 December 2008. The run-off election followed the 7 December poll in which none of the Presidential candidates secured over 50% of the valid votes required to win.
In issuing the Group's interim statement today on the conduct of the run-off election, Baroness Amos said the Group "welcomed the initiatives taken by the Electoral Commission which helped to ensure that the electoral process was robust and credible and met the benchmarks for democratic elections to which Ghana has committed itself".
Noting that the overall conduct of the campaign between the two rounds of the election was generally orderly, the Group's statement highlighted concern that "issues relating to the increasingly contentious political environment in which the run-off election took place and the conduct of the media in fuelling suspicions urgently need to be addressed".
The statement reflected the group's concern that unverified accusations of malpractice made by individuals, as well as by representatives of the political parties, were aired repeatedly by some sections of the broadcast media.
"The rumours" the Group's statement said, "fuelled suspicions and unnecessarily heightened tension in some constituencies and led to a number of minor incidents resulting from gatherings of hostile crowds."
Noting that the immediate post-election environment is calm, however, the Group stated its "hope that a spirit of peace and cooperation will prevail". The Chairperson went on to highlight that "with such a competitive election, the next President of Ghana will be required to unify the country and represent all citizens of Ghana".
The Group stated that a strong democracy is one in which differences can be resolved through established institutions and systems in which the people have confidence and trust. It went on to express its hope that the incoming government will consolidate Ghana's democratic gains further and foster political inclusiveness and cooperation, and urged Ghana's "political leaders and citizens to respect the independence of the Electoral Commission and recognise its mandate with respect to the announcement of the results".