Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the United Nations General Secretary, has said that Ghana’s forthcoming elections is as important for the nation as they are significant for Africa.
He added that, “The elections will be another opportunity for Ghana to showcase its enviable democratic credentials and for the region to once again recount a success story of democratic consolidation.”
Dr. Chambas, who is also the head of UNOWAS, was speaking via a virtual call at a day’s conference on Ghana’s elections on December 7. The conference was held on Tuesday at the University for Development Studies Conference Centre in Tamale.
The theme of the conference was “Delivering peaceful, free, fair and credible elections – a responsibility for all Ghanaians”. It was organized by the Northern Development and Democratic Institute, a think- tank based in Tamale.
According to Dr. Chambas, “Beyond being referred to as the beacon of democracy in the continent, the elections this year should further deepen Ghana’s constitutional democracy while reinforcing the aspirations of all Ghanaians to live in peace, harmony and prosperity.”
He said Ghana had a track record of delivering peaceful and credible elections backed by strong national institutions and mature politicians.
He added that, “We are optimistic that 2020 will not be any different. However, you will agree with me that no system is so good that it cannot be made better. Therefore, we must remain vigilant and address any challenges that may undermine the peaceful conduct of the elections including, the possible impact of political vigilantism on the elections.
He stressed that hate speeches and the recruitment of the youth to foment violence must be shunned and avoided. Likewise, trust and confidence between political actors and in national institutions must be enhanced and the participation of women should be guaranteed.
Dr. Chambas admonished the media to exhibit high journalism standards, avoid sensationalism, fake news and strive to create informed voters with their reportage.
He said the nation counted on the security agencies to operate professionally and in a non-partisan manner in order to secure the electoral process.
“Furthermore, we remain optimistic that given the level of national ownership, leadership and responsibility exercised by Ghanaians, these challenges will either be resolved or their impact mitigated in pursuit for peaceful elections.
“In this regard, I cannot over emphasize the crucial role of faith and traditional leaders in promoting social cohesion, respect for human rights, peace, stability and ultimately the development of the country.
“We will always count on their selfless and endless efforts especially during this electoral period to calm down tensions, remind political actors of their responsibilities and bring the country together after a hectic and sometimes acrimonious political period.
Dr. Chambas reassured the nation that the United Nations remained a viable partner to Ghana. “We will continue to enhance concentric partnerships with all relevant actors, both national and international in support of local, regional and national efforts to sustain peace.”
Speakers at the conference included; Madam Diana Acconcia, EU Ambassador to Ghana; Most Rev. Philip Naameh, Catholic Archbishop of Tamale and President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference; Dr. Hakeem Wemah, chairman of the Northern Devlopment Authority and Mr, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafo, chairman of the National Media Commission.