Transparency International’s local chapter, the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) in collaboration with Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) and Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD) on Wednesday launched a project to monitor abuse of incumbency and political corruption during Election 2012.
Activities under the project are aimed at promoting electoral integrity by engaging the electoral process to enhance election transparency, equality of opportunity, credibility and peace in Election 2012.
Mr Vitus Azeem, Executive Director of GII indicated that the integrity of the electoral process was threatened if the Government’s power and resources were used to the advantage of a candidate contesting with another.
He noted that the character of abuse of incumbency and its manifestations were the greatest impediments to democratic consolidation in any country, including Ghana.
“Election 2012 proves to be a critical test of Ghana’s democratic institutions, therefore the confidence in the democratic process will depend largely on the transparency and credibility of political campaigns in order to gain broad acceptance and legitimacy, regardless of the outcome.”
Mr Azeem explained that the project was the institution’s contribution towards a credible and peaceful election, where the coalition sought to use the monitoring project approach as an early warning mechanism.
He said findings of electoral impropriety would be communicated to electoral stakeholders and the general public through avenues including the media for prompt action.
Mr Azeem indicated that this was to prevent the situation where government officials exploited State resources and their governmental powers for illegitimate private gains at the expense of both the public and their political competitors during elections.
He said a manual had been designed to aid the 35 trained observers under the project who would undertake intense monitoring of political activities in some selected constituencies as well as in selected media institutions, commencing from May 1 to November 30, 2012.
Mr Azeem said the primary goal was to initiate a set of interventions that would ensure that Election 2012 was conducted in a peaceful and fair atmosphere.
“This means that every effort must be made to restrain parties from doing anything that will give advantage to one party and put the other at a disadvantage,” he said.
The Rev. Dr Fred Deegbe, Chairman of Christian Council of Ghana, launching the manual for monitoring the process, underscored the importance of ensuring a fair and level playing field for all contesting political parties in Election 2012, to ensure a credible outcome.
He said it was important that Ghana sustained her infant democracy to ensure national development.
Rev. Deegbe appealed for the collaboration and support of all stakeholders, and urged the media to analyse the outcome of issues that would be reported by the observers, without personalising them, to bring about change.