Regional Director of NDI, West and Central Africa, Christopher Fomunyoh, who led the second fact-finding mission to Ghana on Sunday, told the media at the end of their visit that a commitment to peace by all the participating political parties was a critical factor in this year’s polls in Ghana.
In addition to this, he said the parties should reactivate the Code of Conduct signed in 2012, and reaffirm their commitment to credible and violence-free polls.
In May 2016, Ghanaian political parties and other stakeholders, including the Electoral Commission (EC), came to an agreement at a meeting at Ada, 133 km east of the capital, rejecting electoral violence in all forms and disassociating ourselves from all ‘vigilante groups’ and their activities.
The parties also pledged not to employ the services of militant pressure groups at any time before, during and after the 2016 general elections.
The same parties also signed an accord of peace before the 2012 elections not only to ensure a peaceful election but also to accept their outcome.
The NDI urged leaders of the political parties at the national, regional, district and local levels to lead the campaign to effect peaceful polls in the country.
The Regional Director disclosed that the team found areas where everything was on course for the election but stated that there were areas where more needed to be done.
Brigalia Bam, former Chairperson of South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission, and member of the delegation, underscored the need for Ghana to continue to be the beacon of democracy on the continent.
“Ghana has laid very good foundation for democratic practice in Africa and you must keep that reputation intact because whatever happens here sends signals to the rest of the continent,” she stressed, urging the parties to sign and abide by the Code of Conduct.
Ken Nnamani, who was chair of Nigeria’s Elections Reform Commission and a member of the delegation, stressed the importance of the Code of Conduct for the political parties.
He stressed that but for the Code of Conduct to which all the political parties in Nigeria appended their signatures, the peaceful transition of power from one party to the other place last year might not have been possible. Enditem