Rationale for GESNet

Election observation expresses the GESNet’s interest and concern in promoting democratic elections within its wider policy of support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. It is both domestically and internationally recognised that citizens have the right to participate in government and public affairs by voting or being elected at genuine periodic elections. The right to participate cannot be exercised in isolation; genuine and democratic elections can only take place where there is enjoyment by all persons, without discrimination, of their fundamental freedoms and political rights. These include the freedoms of expression, association, assembly and movement. The right to participation and other associated freedoms and rights are not achievable without the protections afforded by the rule of law.

Elections provide the means for the people’s will to be freely expressed in choosing their government. For governing institutions to have democratic legitimacy they should have been granted the authority to govern in the name of the people, and be accountable to the people for the exercise of that authority, through genuine and periodic elections. Election observation by the GESNet reflects its commitment to supporting the democratisation process and the strengthening of democratic institutions in Ghana.

A genuine and democratic election process can contribute to ensuring sustainable peace and stability that ensures progressive democratic governance developments. Elections provide groups with an opportunity to express their political voice in competition with their opponents without resort to violence, and enable the peaceful transfer of political power. In this regard, election observation by the GESNet can complement and enhance the efforts of other observation groups by systematically, comprehensively and accurately gather information concerning the laws, processes and institutions related to the conduct of elections and other factors concerning the overall electoral environment; the impartial and professional analysis of such information; and the drawing of conclusions about the character of electoral processes based on the highest standards for accuracy of information and impartiality of analysis. GESNet, when possible, will offer recommendations for improving the integrity and effectiveness of electoral and related processes, while not interfering in and thus hindering such processes. GESNet organised efforts of intergovernmental and international nongovernmental organizations and associations to conduct domestic election observation in Ghana.

The GESNet also recognises that domestic election observations can provide a comprehensive, independent, and impartial assessment of an electoral process. As election observation enhances transparency and accountability, it can promote public confidence in the electoral process and may serve to promote electoral participation.

This in turn can mitigate the potential for election- related conflict. In common with other domestic and international observation groups, a GESNet will seek to make a positive contribution to the process, but will not interfere in the way in which an election is conducted, nor validate its result. It is only Ghanaians who can ultimately determine the credibility and legitimacy of an election process.

Why observe Elections

No election conducted anywhere in the world is completely free of mistakes. People run elections and people make mistakes. When elections are conducted we produce winners and losers, and no one wants to lose, some candidates or parties may try to rig the outcome. The Electoral Commission allows both political party agents and non-partisan observers to observe the elections to enhance the credibility of the election.