The Commonwealth has urged political party leaders in Ghana to adhere to the country’s long tradition of delivering peaceful and credible elections, ahead of the presidential and parliamentary polls due on 7 December.
Deputy Secretary-General Josephine Ojiambo was in Accra on a goodwill visit this week. She met with several key stakeholders including political parties, civil society organisations, the National Peace Council and other international organisations. She emphasised the need for Ghana to continue to show leadership in West Africa and the wider continent.
The general elections will be observed by a team of Commonwealth election observers led by the former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. An advance team of observers has been in the country since early November.
The Deputy Secretary-General said: “Africa, the Commonwealth and the world will look up to Ghana on 7 December and the days and weeks following that.”
“The race, of course, has only just began. Over the next few weeks, the contest will heat up. Supporters will be excited. Tensions may be high,” she said.
— The Commonwealth (@commonwealthsec) November 24, 2016
Dr Ojiambo urged the country’s political leaders to ensure that their conduct is “beyond reproach”, saying: “Your supporters will follow where you go. I urge you to send consistent and frequent messages of peace and tolerance to them, even when all appears calm. I urge you to promote issues-based campaigns and shun personality campaigning as this fans the flames of tension.
She also urged political leaders to recognise and respect the constitutional independence of the country’s Electoral Commission, and to ensure that the elections are as inclusive as possible. “All segments of Ghanaian society must be encouraged to take part. In particular, women, young people and those with disabilities.”
Last month, Deputy Secretary-General Ojiambo met with the chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission to discuss preparations for the elections.