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Ghanaians urged to commit to electoral reforms

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have pledged their commitment to reforms in the country's electoral system and processes in the aftermath of the 2012 election petition.

They are also asking all Ghanaians to commit to the agenda for reforms in an atmosphere of peace and stability in order to advance the country's democracy.

The commitment was made at a press conference organised jointly by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) in Accra in the aftermath of the release of the reasoning for the judgement on the election petition delivered a week ago.

The Chairman of the CFI, Major General Nii Carl Coleman, presenting a joint statement by the two organisations, said it was time for the country to "go beyond the Supreme Court judgement and focus more on the political, legal and constitutional reforms that must be executed in order to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process, advance the peaceful democratic development of our country and strengthen national unity".

"We urge all political parties and political leaders, civil society organisations, the media and all peace-loving Ghanaians to do all they can to push through with this reform agenda," he added.

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The two CSOs commended the collective efforts of Ghanaians in maintaining the peace and calm of the country.

"We highly commend the first petitioner and the NPP flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for the patriotic manner, dignity and honour with which he conceded defeat and promptly congratulated Mr John Dramani Mahama on his victory, notwithstanding his reservations with the judgement of the Supreme Court," the groups said.

 

Commendations

They also commended the President for his unifying and conciliatory address to the nation after the judgement.

CODEO and the CFI said the exemplary and inspiring behaviour of the two leaders had to be emulated by all Ghanaians.

They also urged Ghanaians to support them in "pursuance of the high and noble goals to which they have dedicated themselves in the supreme interest of the nation".

While not mentioning names, the two CSOs condemned what they said were unguarded statements by some members of the legal teams of the parties and the leaders of the political parties involved in the petition on the judgement of the Supreme Court.

They also commended the Supreme Court for the steadfast manner in which they handled the election petition but asked that it consider the publication of a user friendly version of the judgement and widely disseminate it to inform its analyses.

Responding to a question on the comments made by some lawyers in the aftermath of the verdict, Mrs Joyce Villars, a member of CODEO, urged the media to endeavour to keep the prevailing peace.

Reforms

She said when conducting interviews on the issue, the media had to ensure that discussions were geared towards peace and not division.

Mrs Sena Gabianu, who represented the co-chairpersons of CODEO, Justice V.C.R.C.A. Crabbe, and Mrs Miranda Greenstreet, said there were issues to be taken up for reforms within the opportunity provided by the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) for constitutional reforms.

The Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) and member of the CFI, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, said the agenda for electoral reforms was not defined only by the adjudication of the election petition but had been a constant feature in every electoral cycle of the country.

He added that several CSOs had also lobbied for reforms after elections in the country since 1992, saying that all those presented a broad research agenda for Ghanaians.

By Musah Yahaya Jafaru/Daily Graphic/Ghana

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