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AU urges Ghana to ensure violence-free elections

The Joint High-Level Pre-election Mission of ECOWAS and the African Union (AU), has urged Ghana to take all necessary measures to ensure violence-free elections.

The Mission, in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, expressed satisfaction on the passing of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019, by the parliament of Ghana, and the signing of the code of Conduct on the Eradication of Political Vigilantism in Ghana, under the auspices of the National Peace council.

The statement said in this regard, the Joint Mission commends the authorities for the security measures put in place to ensure peaceful conduct of elections.

It further encouraged all stakeholders to opt for dialogue as a mechanism to address all differences and disputes on issues relating to the elections.

The Joint Mission reiterated the support of ECOWAS and the AU and assured the stakeholders that both institutions will deploy Election Observation Mission to support the ongoing process.

The Joint Mission expressed its appreciation to the Authorities for the warm and fraternal welcome as well as for all the facilities made available for a successful mission.

The statement said in accordance with the relevant provisions of the 2001 ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and the 2002 OAU/AU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa Union Commission, visited Ghana from November 15 to 17.

The Joint Mission during the visit engaged key stakeholders in the election process, particularly institutions involved in the preparation of the elections, political parties, and representatives of civil society towards the December 7, general election.

The Joint Mission was led by President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Jean Claude Kassi Brou, and included the Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union, Madam Minata Samate Cesssouma, Commission for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commission, General Francis Behanzin, and ECOWAS Resident Representative, Ghana, Ambassador Baba Gana Wakil.

It said whilst in Ghana, the Mission seized the opportunity to extend the deepest condolences of the ECOWAS Commission and the AU Commission to the Government and people of Ghana, and in particular to the family of the late former President Jerry John Rawlings, who recently passed on.

The statement said the Mission paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, who expressed appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission and the African Union Commission for the timely conduct of the joint-mission.

It said the Mission held consultations with key stakeholders, including the Minister of National Security, Minister of the Interior, the Electoral Commission, and representatives of the major political parties.

It said in addition, the delegation met with the group of African Ambassadors, Board of the National Peace Council (NPC) and some representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs).

It said the Joint Mission took note of the progress and assurances by the EC on the preparation towards the conduct of credible, free, fair, and transparent elections.

It urged the EC to continue working closely with all stakeholders for an inclusive process, whilst ensuring that adequate measures are put in place for strict adherence to the protocols on the COVID-19 pandemic during the elections.