‘Independent body needed to monitor incumbency abuse’

The Programmes Manager of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Mary Awelana Addah, has observed that monitoring and documentation of abuse of incumbency for publication by an independent body will ensure legitimate use of public resources.

“Incumbent public office holders abuse their incumbency mostly because of their parochial interest to retain power at the detriment of national resources and the phenomenon creates an inherent incentive for them to abuse public resources, even to the extent of influencing the outcome of elections,” she decried.

Mrs Addah made the observation at the closing ceremony of a two-day training workshop for media practitioners in Accra sponsored by Global Affairs Canada and the project sought to enhance the skills of participants to facilitate the GII’s national monitoring exercise on ‘Abuse of Incumbency and Electoral Corruption before and during the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections’.

According to her, “the exercise will track potential incumbent abuse of state resources and monitor the extent and variety of corruption in the 2020 elections, help promote creation of level playing field as result of monitoring, publicity exercises and also contribute to achieving fairness and clean elections.”

Mrs Addah intimated that even though the country has witnessed seven elections with three successful transfers of power from one political party to the other, issues of abuse of power and corruption among public officers still exist hence importance of exercise to make office holders accountable and transparent.

She explained that the role of an independent observer was key in enhancing transparency, accountability and increasing public confidence in electoral processes saying “Article 55 (11) of the 1992 Constitution provides the state makes effort to ensure all political parties have equal access to state media to present their plans, policies, programmes and interventions to the populace.”

Francis Ameyibor, Executive Director, Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult, entreated journalists not to allow their personal opinions and preferences to influence their reportage before, during and after elections since they had role to play in monitoring elections to ensure transparency and credibility in voting processes, respect electoral laws, rules and regulations whilst monitoring electoral activities.

Participants were taken through ‘General Overview of Ghana’s Election and Impact’, ‘Overview of Monitoring Abuse of Incumbency and Electoral Corruption’, and ‘Legal Framework for Elections and Abuse of Incumbency’, among other topics. -GNA

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