Election observers must support efforts to improve West Africa’s electoral processes to assure confidence and integrity, Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie, Deputy Commandant, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), has said.
He said election must be free, fair, and credible for the outcome to be legitimate, adding that the absence of those benchmarks could plunge the overall integrity of the electoral process into jeopardy.
Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie made the call when he opened a joint Election Observation Training, and Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Course at the KAIPTC at Teshie on Monday, February 6, 2023.
He said the successful legislative elections in Benin last month had provided optimism for the continent’s democratic and electoral prospects.
“The unpredictable nature of Africa’s electoral fortunes also means that the search must continue for ways of consolidating the democratic processes in order to make the conduct of periodic elections as routine and uneventful as possible.
“This is crucial for preventing violent conflicts and for sustaining or building lasting peace particularly in post-conflict countries as well as stable democracies,” Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie said.
Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie said the KAIPTC had since 2004 collaborated with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to train over 570 election observers, including retired and serving military officers, police officers, ambassadors, diplomats, and members of civil society organisations.
He urged the participants to approach the Course with the “uttermost dedication it deserves” and support efforts to consolidate the region’s democratic achievements.
“The KAPITC as an ECOWAS training of excellence will remain at the cutting edge of excellence and build the capacities of residents by providing them with the training that would equip them with the skills necessary for effective engagement,” he said.
The Election Observation Training seeks to enhance the knowledge and technical capacity of experts in election observation in West Africa and the continent as a whole.
The objective is to facilitate an increase in the contribution of experts to ECOWAS’ efforts at preventing elections related conflict/violence and to help further democracy in the sub-region.
The Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) Course on the other hand aims at enhancing the capacity and effectiveness of UN, Regional, Sub-regional, National and other institutions to perform peace operations.
The Course seeks to provide participants with a comprehensive and operational level understanding of the principles, procedures and practices involved in the planning, coordination and conduct of DDR programmes and DDR related tools.