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Some civil society groups say they may not be able to adequately monitor the 2020 elections to ensure that the process is free, fair, transparent and peaceful.

They attribute this to the lack of funds as a result of dwindling donor support.

Speaking at a forum on Thursday organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs on Civil Society Organisations and Democratic Elections in Ghana, the Director of Programs at IDEG, Kwesi Jonah, said COVID-19 is to blame for the financial difficulties.

He, however, said CSOs like his will do their best despite the challenges.

“We are still going to set up situation rooms in all 16 regions, but we are going to set it up very late.”

“Ideally, we set up the situation rooms about three months to the election to follow up on the campaign. This time around, I think we are going to set it up late,” he admitted.

As an example, Mr. Jonah said orientation for contributors to the situation rooms was yet to start with elections less than two months away.

“If you ask me the reason, it is very simple; the [money] is not there.”

At the forum, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, stressed the need for CSOs to step up advocacy to eliminate fear and calm tensions in the country ahead of the general election in December.

He warned of the tendency of elections to destabilise the country, hence the need for better voter education.

“Your advocacy must also go to eliminate violence and diminish the fear and panic that is about saturating the system,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.

Meanwhile, the Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Inusah Fuseini, at the same forum, also asked civil society groups to advocate for a fair process in addition to peace.

According to him, the fact that President Akufo-Addo replaced the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission when he came into offices raises red flags.

“It opens up the perception that the people who have been put in office will dance to the tune of the master who put them in office.”

The MP thus urged CSOs to “work to meet the reasonable and legitimate expectations of this country to deliver free credible and transparent elections.”

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