Former Liberian President and Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has arrived in Ghana to lead the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) joint presidential and parliamentary election observer team to monitor Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Monday, 7 December.
The arrival of the team follows a pre-election mission led by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, about a month ago.
The earlier mission engaged the political parties, the Electoral Commission (EC) and other stakeholders on Ghana’s preparedness toward the upcoming election.
Among many other concerns, it recommended increased dialogue among all stakeholders, especially political parties, in order to reduce tension before and after the 2020 general elections.
However, in furtherance of the regional bloc’s commitment to deepening democracy across the continent, another set of about 150 high-powered delegation, arrived in Ghana with four days to the December polls.
The leader of the delegation, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who, on Wednesday, 2 December 2020, paid a courtesy call on Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in Accra, as part of processes to officially commence her activities, noted that: “I was honoured to have been designated by the President of the ECOWAS Commission to serve as the ECOWAS Elections observation mission for the election in Ghana”.
She added: “We know of the legacy Ghana has when it comes to elections, when it comes to how things are conducted here. We see this as a challenge because any kind of election is a challenge…so, all in all it is my honour to be of service to Ghana and to be of service to Africa for carrying out this important activity”.
The former head of state also explained that: “Our work is facilitated by a very experienced team, many of whom we’ve worked with before. We have benefited from briefing notes that have included the work of the pre-observation mission headed by President Brou and, so, we feel that we are ready to take on the task”.
For her part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, indicated that “every election is different but all in all, I’m of the firm believe and opinion that Ghana will not disappoint the world. We very much are proud of our democratic credentials, we believe strongly in the rule of law, in democracy, respect for human rights and good governance and we know that elections are part of a good working democracy where you afford the citizens the opportunity at given intervals to speak their mind through the ballot box. We know that like I said the whole world is watching Ghana and we’ve done it several times where we have even transferred power from one political party to another without problems or whatsoever”.
In this year’s election, the minister added that the “government has spared no effort in making sure that it has put at the disposal of all the institutions that are involved in the preparations of the elections, whatever it is they require so we know that the EC is well prepared towards the elections.”
Ms Botchwey also said that taking a cue from the special voting exercise on Tuesday, 1 December, which “went very well” gives enough grounds to believe that everything will go well on December 7.