Principles for Electoral Justice launched in Ghana

Ghana on Thursday joined the global community to observe International Democracy Day with the launch of Accra Principles for Electoral Justice.

The principles acknowledge that; things can sometimes go wrong in electoral process, and that the manner in which these wrongs are redressed can determine the overall legitimacy of electoral outcome and the level of trust in the electoral process.

The 13-page document translates the concept of government of the people, by the people, for the people into a practical reality for all nations and peoples of the earth.

It will ensure that power is deployed through democratic means rather than through the dominating disbursement of financial resources, undue influence, force or other illicit or democratically illegitimate means.

Launching the document in Accra Mrs Justice Theodora Wood, the Chief Justice, said an important safeguard of election integrity depended on the effective resolution of electoral disputes in a fair and timely manner.

She therefore assured the nation that the Ghanaian Judicial Systems would collaboratively work with the Electoral Commission (EC) to have these global standards piloted in the country.

Mrs Justice Wood said the Ghanaian judiciary recognised the importance of electoral justice, which clearly cut across political, civil and electoral rights of citizens and would collaborate with other stakeholders to build on the foundations laid over the years.

She said in participatory democracy, elective officers had a limited lifespan and slow pace of adjudication of disputes had the potential of rendering the judicial remedies subsequently obtained by the successful party Pyrrhic victory.

“Failed justice stands the risk of ruining our collective efforts at promoting and sustaining peace in Ghana and turning the clock of national progress and development back,” the Chief Justice said.

The Chief Justice of Uganda, Mr Justice Ben Odoki, lauded Ghana’s democratic achievement not only in Africa but globally; “Demonstrating that elections can be conducted in a free and fair manner in Africa”.

He said lots of instability in Africa and other parts of the world had been caused partially due to bad management of electoral process; the electoral justice system therefore sought to set standards for Electoral Management Bodies to use.

Mr Justice Odoki said unless elections were conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner democracy would be doomed not only in Africa but rest of the world.

The Accra Principles of Electoral Justice document was formulated through the collaborative effort of Association of African Election Authorities (AAEA), Open Society Foundation, UNDP and TIRI-Electoral Integrity Group.

Source: GNA

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