Accra -Ghana — The President of the ECOWAS Commission His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo has commended Ghanaians for their patience, enthusiasm, as well as peaceful and orderly conduct during the presidential and parliamentary elections on Friday 7th December 2012, which were extended by one day due to technical hitches in some polling centres.
Some of the hic-ups that prompted the National Electoral Commission to extend voting in some areas included late arrival of materials and the malfunctioning of the Biometric Verification Machines (BVMs), which the country used for the first time in its electoral history.
As the nation awaited results of the keenly contested polls, President Ouédraogo told journalists in Accra, the nation’s capital on Sunday 9th December 2012, that overall, the conduct of the Ghanaian electorate and other stakeholders was exemplary and commendable, adding that ECOWAS Member States have positive lessons to draw from the BVMs experience for the deepening of democracy in the region. He said the Electoral Commission has assured that the noticeable lapses in the Biometric system can be rectified, and appealed for calm, adding that aggrieved parties should eschew violence and follow laid down procedures to seek redress.
The ECOWAS Commission president, who was at the press conference addressed by the ECOWAS Elections Observation Mission at Accra on Saturday after issuing the Mission’s Preliminary Declaration on the conduct of the polls, assured that the Commission would continue to support the deepening of democratic culture and good governance in the region by encouraging Member States to emulate tried and tested good practices.
ECOWAS Commission deployed 250 Election Observers across Ghana’s 10 administrative regions to monitor the conduct of the elections held in 26,000 polling centres across the country.
President Ouédraogo, whose mission in Ghana was to provide additional support to the regional Observation Mission, visited a number of polling stations in Greater Accra during the two days of balloting. Speaking to reporters during the tour, he commended the determination and zeal demonstrated by Ghanaians to exercise their civic duty and urged them to do all that is necessary to consolidate their country’s culture, tradition and reputation.
The ECOWAS chief also accompanied the Head of regional Observation Mission, former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo during visits to stakeholder institutions and personalities before the elections.
The Ghanaian polls follow the successful elections in Sierra Leone which were also observed by ECOWAS. Some 14.7 million biometric-registered Ghanaian voters cast their ballots on Friday and Saturday to elect a President from among eight presidential candidates including one independent, and more than the 1,300 contenders for the country’s 275 parliamentary seats.