The Electoral Commission (EC), with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), trained over 160 newly appointed electoral officers in Ghana, to build their capacity on elections administration and on the electoral process. The aim is to ensure understanding of their roles, basic principles, and management of stakeholders for the conduct of free and fair elections in Ghana.
Delivering the training using the Association of African Election Administration (AAEA) training manual was Dr. Bossman Eric Asare, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Corporate Services, Samuel D. Boadu, Director of Human Resource, and Faith Amedzake, Eastern Regional Director of the EC. They emphasized the need for electoral officers to uphold the basic rights of Ghanaians in relation to elections, which include the right to register and vote, secret ballot, form or join a political party, and the right to campaign and participate in periodic elections.
Electoral officials were also encouraged to be guided by the laws governing the EC in Ghana especially Article 45 and 46 which clearly states the functions of the electoral commission and its independence. Dr. Bossman further noted that, it is very essential for electoral officers to make sure elections are free and fair, and that it reflects the true will of the electorate, which is the only legitimate entrance to democratic leadership.
“I encourage officers to have integrity, be transparent, fair and professional because your actions and inactions can maintain or destroy the peace in the country”, Dr. Bossman stressed.
Participants of the training revealed that the training was educative and will be beneficial to their various functions.
“Since we were recruited, I was not very conversant with the nature of our work, this training has been very enlightening especially the training on stakeholder analysis which addressed how we should relate to everyone professionally to ensure peaceful coexistence and a free and fair electoral process”, Benjamin Amankwah, one of the electoral officers and a trainee indicated.
According to Nana Teiba Chinbuah, Head of Governance at UNDP Ghana, UNDP remains dedicated and committed to supporting electoral reforms in Ghana, and is very proud to support the training. She added that, in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), the training is expected to strengthen the capacity of the electoral officers to carry out the EC’s mandate effectively.
The Electoral Officers training was undertaken concurrently in Koforidua, Kumasi and Tamale over a three-day period. It aimed to build the capacity of the EC’s staff to increase knowledge and ensure consensus on emerging electoral challenges to ensure peaceful and credible elections ahead of Ghana’s 2020 elections.