West Africa: Ecowas Observer Mission Entreats Aggrieved Parties to Use Legal Means to Seek Redress

The ECOWAS Observer Mission has entreated any aggrieved party in the elections to resort only to legal means in seeking redress. The Mission which has concluded that the Electoral Commission (EC) has provided the necessary environment and facilities for Ghanaians to vote in a secure and transparent manner , has appealed to the political parties to accept the eventual verdict. The Mission says it will continue to closely monitor the concluding phases of the process, particularly the voting process in the extended ballots.

The Mission urged the EC to "expedite action on the proclamation of the provisional results, to prevent further anxiety within the polity".

The ECOWAS Observer Mission also had some recommendations intended to address challenges, the Group identified during the voting process. The body noted that despite the challenges faced in introducing the biometric electoral process, the EC should "continue perfecting the equipment through their use in lesser elections including District Assembly Polls". It also asked the EC to collaborate with the National Commission on Civic Education and other stakeholder institutions to intensify voter education for both the electoral officials and the voters. The Mission also encouraged the EC to "seriously consider the adoption of a viable back-up verification mechanism to the BVM, by exploring the alternative use of voter IDs and the manual voters register"

The EC was also asked to review the redistribution of electorates among polling centres to minimize the wide disparity in numbers assigned to the polling stations.

Commenting on the media, the Mission urged the in-coming Parliament to expedite action on the "adoption of a media regulatory framework capable of checking the excesses observed in the course of the electoral process".

The ECOWAS Observer Mission which has been in town since November 28, also urged the incoming parliament to adopt affirmative action to support women's participation in politics as well as grant the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) an autonomous statutory state body for regular consultations on electoral issues. The mission also recommended a review of the legal framework governing elections in order to minimize the incidents of litigations designed to delay the conduct of elections.

The Observer Mission made up of 250 officials was led by the former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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