Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), has outlined some qualities that the Council of State must look out for in the appointment of a new head of the Electoral Commission (EC) as the country prepares for the 2016 general election.
According to him, such a person must possess high integrity, be professionally competent, independent-minded and a person who would be mindful of their personal dignity and legacy.
Dr. Chambas was speaking at the 3rd Kofi Annan-Dag Hammarskjold Annual Lecture in Accra yesterday which was themed: “The Continuing Challenges of Peace and Security in Africa: A West African Perspective”.
It was organised by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) and the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation (DHF) and was attended by civil societies, security services, academia, members of the diplomatic corps and the private sector.
“The specific message for Ghana as it prepares for the 2016 elections is that having a Head of EC who is a person of high integrity, professionally competent, independent-minded and mindful of their personal dignity and legacy is important in consolidating Ghana’s rich experiences in the conduct of elections,” he stressed.
Dr. Chambas said the constitutional provision regarding the appointment of a new EC chairman could not be set aside but the focus, in addition to the constitution should be on the calibre of such a person.
“The Council of State must be mindful of the calibre of the person. The focus should be on the calibre of the person where all sides will be assured of the person’s transparency at all times,” he said.
Dr. Chambas said Nigeria has shown the way to peaceful elections and urged the rest of the West Africa countries embarking on elections this year and subsequently to emulate Nigeria.
He noted that Africa was a rich continent with poor people due to governance deficit and poor leadership.
Dr. Chambas minced no words in condemning the xenophobic attacks in South Africa, saying the country had failed the rest of Africa with such attacks and urged the South African government to do more to bring the perpetrators to book.
Ms. Joanna Adamson, Australian High Commissioner in Accra, who chaired the function, praised the two diplomats, the late Dag Hammarskjold and Mr. Kofi Annan for their contributions to international peace and security and their roles in resolving complex and controversial crisis in Africa.
The late Dag Hammarskjold was the second Secretary-General of the UN from 1953 until 1961 and Kofi Annan was the 7th Secretary-General of the UN from 1997 to 2006.