Geneva, 03 December 2020. As Ghana prepares to head to the polls again on 7 December, for the eighth time since the return of multi-party elections in 1992, the Kofi Annan Foundation celebrates its democratic achievements and calls on all stakeholders to make this election another success story for the country.
“Kofi Annan was very proud of Ghana’s reputation as a beacon of democracy on the continent”, says Corinne Momal-Vanian, the Foundation’s new Executive Director. “The regional context, and the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, make this election particularly significant at a time when Ghana chairs the Economic Commission for West Africa and the Sahel (ECOWAS): this is an opportunity to lead by example.”
Not only are the 2020 general elections expected to be well-administered, based on the country’s track record, but they will also be competitive and largely issue-focused. The Foundation notes the measures taken by the Election Commission (EC) to make the elections possible despite the pandemic and calls on all voters to respect the health and safety protocols in place during all election-related public gatherings.
In the run-up to the elections, some Ghanaian stakeholders have nevertheless expressed concerns that the Foundation hopes will be addressed. These include the need for greater transparency in the results collation and transmission process, which are key elements in ensuring confidence in the elections and the acceptance of their outcome. Reports of vigilante groups trying to intimidate voters, and the pervasiveness of disinformation, hate speech, and inflammatory language disseminated through social media platforms and a polarized media, also contribute to risks of electoral violence.
That is why the Kofi Annan Foundation welcomes the code of conduct which presidential candidates will be signing tomorrow under the aegis of the National Peace Council. Such commitments, similar to those which the Foundation has facilitated in other countries, send a strong signal to all political actors to respect the rules of the democratic game.
Before the last elections, in 2016, Kofi Annan reminded his compatriots that “beyond party differences, there is the greater national interest at stake. After the elections, we shall have to work together across party lines to pursue the development of our country. Much remains to be done to ensure a better future for our children. We cannot afford to let them down.” His words remain as relevant today as ever.
Please contact Sébastien F. Brack, Head of the Kofi Annan Foundation’s Elections and Democracy programme: firstname.lastname@example.org