ECOWAS poll observers deploy in Ghana

Accra, Ghana (PANA) - Members of the 250-strong ECOWAS Observer Mission to Friday's presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana have been deployed across the country’s 10 administrative regions to monitor the conduct of the polls.

While some the observers will operate from Accra, which will serve as the Mission’s headquarters and Situation Room, others have been deployed in the far Wa Municipal District of the Upper West region, more than 800-km from the nation’s capital.

Kumasi, Tamale and Bolgatanga will serve as the Mission’s sub-stations for effective coverage of most of the 26,000 polling stations to be used by the National Electoral Commission for the election, in which 14.7 million biometric-registered Ghanaians will cast their ballots on Friday.

Addressing the regional observers in Accra ahead of the deployment Wednesday, Head of the ECOWAS Observation Mission, Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo, urged them “to be friendly, but impartial, neutral and objective.”

“The eyes of the world and Africa will be on Ghana and on the Observer Mission in the next five days,” he said, adding that the observers’ key function “is to observe how the electorate, politicians, electoral officials, the security task force, and other stakeholders conduct themselves before, during and after the polls.”

He also reminded the observers that they are to contribute to an atmosphere of peace and trust, which is a prerequisite for peaceful, transparent and credible elections, and the strengthening of democracy in the region.

Speaking in the same vein, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, enjoined the observers to adhere strictly to the provisions of the observation guidelines.

She said ECOWAS is encouraged and remains hopeful that the exercise would go well, given Ghana’s tradition of peaceful elections since 1992.
-0- PANA SEG 6Dec2012

06 december 2012 13:27:25

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