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US affirms confidence in EC, Afari-Gyan
From: Ghana | Daily Graphic          Published On: September 21, 2012, 00:00 GMT
 
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US affirms confidence in EC, Afari-Gyan
The US government has expressed confidence in the Electoral Commission (EC) and its Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan to successfully conduct the December elections.

The US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Johnnie Carson said America had enormous respect for the EC and its chairman, describing Dr Afari-Gyan as a man of high integrity and one of the most experienced electoral commissioners in the world.

Responding to a question on Ghana's forthcoming elections during a video conference with journalists across Africa and other parts of the world, Mr Carson expressed confidence and faith in Ghana organising successful elections in December.

That vote of confidence, coming from a world superpower, is a shot in the arm of the EC and Dr Afari-Gyan to conduct successful elections in December, after the EC and its chairman had come under intense pressure in recent times from political parties and civil society organisations.

The video conference, which featured journalists from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Madagascar, Ethiopia, South Africa and some countries outside Africa, afforded Mr Carson the opportunity to address some critical issues in respect of US-Africa relations as Washington sought to redefine its policy on Africa.

Bilateral relations between Ghana and the US have significantly soared in recent years, largely due to Ghana's impressive democratic credentials earned over the past 20 years of constitutional rule.

As Americans go to the polls on November 6, 2012, Mr Carson was hopeful that Ghana's elections, taking place one month later, would mirror the US elections in a free and fair manner.

He said the US had enormous respect for Ghana's democratic tradition since transition from military regimes, adding that it was in that respect that President Barrack Obama chose Ghana for his first visit to Africa.

Mr Carson said although the December elections were expected to be very close, just like the 2008 elections that would not affect the outcome.

He expressed the hope that the election results would be accepted by all parties, adding that whoever lost should look ahead to four years for another opportunity, while the winners should be a government for the whole nation and not just their political party.

He expressed his deep condolences to the government and the people of Ghana for the death of President Mills who, when he was alive, was committed to democracy and the building of a strong, prosperous economy for Ghanaians.

Among the pertinent issues Mr Carson addressed were the conflicts in Mali and Somalia, the elections in Kenya and Madagascar and the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

He said America had designated three leaders of Boko Haram as terrorists, after they had made contacts with some suspected foreign organisations and tried to establish a broader network.

He said apart from those leaders, Washington considered Boko Haram as a group seeking political reforms.

Mr Carson dismissed suggestions that America's renewed interest in Africa was due to the growing presence of some countries on the continent, pointing out that the US had had long-standing relations with Africa dating back to the foundation of America.

"We want those ties to be based on mutual respect," he noted.

He said the interest of America in Africa was to strengthen trade relations, help the economic growth of Africa and help address the numerous civil conflicts and diseases plaguing the continent, among other interventions.


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