6 December 2012

ECOWAS Observation Mission Engages Ghana Stakeholders Ahead of Friday Elections

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Accra - Ghana — Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who is at the head of the 250-member ECOWAS observer mission to Ghana's 7th December 2012 presidential and legislative elections on Wednesday, 5th December 2012 continued his stakeholder consultations with meetings with officials of the country's three political parties, the National Electoral Commission and security agencies. Chief Obasanjo used the opportunity of the separate meetings with officials of the ruling National Peoples Party (NPP) and two opposition parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) of Ghana's first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to appeal for calm, civil conduct and a peaceful atmosphere for successful polling on Friday.

The former leader, who was accompanied by ECOWAS and African Union officials, also visited the Ghana Police Headquarters where they met with the Inspector- General of Police, Paul Tawiah Quaye, who is also chair of the National Elections Security Task Force, which groups representatives of the country's security services. The Inspector-General informed him that more than 41,000 security agents, including 30,000 police personnel, would be deployed to provide security on polling day. According to the IGP, the security arrangement on the ground takes into account the identified and possible flash-points as well as a contingency plan to handle any eventuality, including through rapid deployment of forces. At the headquarters of the National Electoral Commission the chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, assured Chief Obasanjo that the Commission has taken all necessary measures to ensure successful polling on Friday. "I can tell you that we are ready at the Commission," he affirmed, adding that the special voting on Tuesday by electoral officials and security personnel that will be on duty on Friday had reinforced the readiness and confidence of the Commission in the biometric system, being used in Ghana for the first time.

The Chairman explained that security officials who were unable to vote on Tuesday would be given priority attention to cast their ballots on Friday and return to their duty posts. On Tuesday, Chief Obasanjo met with officials of the National Peace Council, the Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Theodora Wood, and the country's two former Presidents, John Kufuor and J.J. Rawlings, whose rival political parties are fielding the two frontrunners in the presidential race. Fridays polls, the sixth consecutive general elections in Ghana marked by three peaceful alternations of power among the country's political parties since 1992, will enable Ghanaians elect a president from among eight candidates, including one independent, and several hundreds of contenders for the country's 275-seat Parliament.

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