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ECOWAS Pleased With Ghana Election Preparation

  • Peter Clottey

Poll observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) say they are pleased with preparation efforts ahead of Ghana’s general election Friday.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman says she is pleased with the security arrangements for the vote.

“Everybody seems to be quite satisfied that adequate arrangements have been put in place and the security agencies seem to be quite in control and I believe we are all set to go,” said Suleiman.

Official campaigning ended late Wednesday for Friday’s presidential, legislative and local elections. The ruling NDC and the main opposition NPP held their final mammoth rallies in the capital, Accra. The other opposition parties also held their final rallies across the country.

Thursday is scheduled to be the “cooling off day,” when political party activities are barred to enable voters to decide who to vote for on Friday.

The ECOWAS and African Union poll team led by former Nigeria president Olusegun Obasanjo met Tuesday with former presidents Jerry Rawlings, founding father of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), and John Agyekum Kufuor of the main opposition, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“They were quite enthused about the large ECOWAS contingent that will give confidence and try to dissuade any temptations to cause violence on election day,” said ECOWAS political director Abdel-Fatau Musah.

He added the Independent Electoral Commission assured his team about their readiness for the vote.

“If you look around, everybody is very calm. The general population is going about their business normally,” he said.

The eight presidential candidates have signed a peace pact to renounce violence and to accept the results of Friday’s vote. But some Ghanaians have expressed worry that the tension could turn violent in spite of the signed peace pact.

“From the discussions we’ve held, we’ve observed some tensions here and there, but I believe that it shouldn’t necessarily lead to violence,” said Suleiman.

She underscored the need for a peaceful vote, which she said should be an example to other West African nations.

“We want other countries in our sub-region, to continue to look up to Ghana and to learn lessons from the political process and democratic process in Ghana,” she said.

Meanwhile, former Nigerian leader Obasanjo plans to hold a news conference Thursday to officially call for a peaceful election ahead of Friday’s vote.