Ghana’s upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary election on December 7 has observer missions from the European Union(EU), African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and locally from the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO).
These observer missions in Ghana consist of representations of neutral and non-partisan agents who observe actors, events, processes and the environment involved in the election and report on the effects of the events and processes that impact, in democratic terms, a free and fair election.
The Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) is an independent and non-partisan locally based network of civil society groups, faith-based organizations, and professional bodies that observe Ghanaian elections.
The EU’s Observer Mission team is led by Chief Observer Javier Nart, a member of the European Parliament from Spain along with other members from Norway and Switzerland. This is EUs third Observer Mission to Ghana following their 2008 and 2016 missions.
On the activities of Observer missions, CODEO has deployed 65 Long-Term Observers (LTOs) who will be observing the pre-election environment from September 1 to December 6.
The observers, each of whom has been assigned to one of 65 selected constituencies from all 16 regions of the country, will be monitoring the constituency level pre-election activities of key election stakeholders.
The LTOs form part of CODEO’s comprehensive observation of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections and will be followed up by Election-Day Observation activities including the deployment of a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) to verify the accuracy of the outcome of the presidential election.
The EU Observer Mission has deployed 40 long-term observers from 26 EU member states across the 16 regions and this number will be reinforced by 30 local short-term observers on election day, December 7. The mission will have a total of 80 Observers deployed on this day.
Elections are politically charged events making the work of the election observer mission is critical because the integrity of democratic institutions is tested in this period. The election observer missions report on election processes throughout the period from pre-vote, after the polls through to collation and declaration of the results.
The reportage and assessments in the pre-vote period highlight critical issues to be addressed by the Electoral Commission for citizens to fully express their will through choosing leadership at the polls.
The reports these missions produce also serve as benchmarks and learning material to guide other observer missions and democratic institutions in other democratic nations.
With Ghana next in line with its elections, December 7 marks a crucial test of democratic systems in the West African regional bloc. In the event of any attempt to sabotage the electoral process, the country’s democratic institutions and the election observers are triggered by their duty and function to highlight and address these flaws to safeguard credible and transparent polls.