Large ECOWAS observer team to monitor Ghana elections

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Former Nigerian leader Yakubu Gowon will lead the 200-member ECOWAS Observer team to Ghana’s 7 December parliamentary and presidential elections, the fifth consecutive elections since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992, an ECOWAS Commission statement said.

Also in the team, the second largest regional mission to an election in West Africa since ECOWAS began election observation, are former President of the Interim government of Liberia, Prof. Amos Sawyer, and four members of the ECOWAS Council of elders.

Some 250 observers, the largest ever mission by ECOWAS, were fielded for the 2007 general elections in Nigeria.

Members of the Ghana mission, who are due to arrive next week, are drawn from member states, the ECOWAS Parliament, ECOWAS Ambassadors in Nigeria, electoral experts, representatives of electoral commissions from member states and non-governmental organizations.

A 30-member support component of ECOWAS staff, led by Prof. Ade Adefuye, the democracy and good governance adviser to the President of the Commission, will also participate in the mission.

Members of the mission will monitor Ghana’s election in all the country’s 10 regions, with the bulk of the observers scheduled to be deployed in Accra, the main coordinating centre for the mission.

The activities of the others will be coordinated from Kumasi and Tamale to ensure a comprehensive coverage of the country by the mission.

As a prelude to the mission, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, dispatched a fact-finding mission led by Prof. Sawyer three weeks ago to assess the preparations for the elections.

Their report will influence the modalities for observing the elections.

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