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Be Neutral, Professional. Political Parties Urge Stakeholders

Three political parties have described the period leading to the December 7 elections as critical, and have therefore, called on all stakeholders to play their respective roles in a professional and neutral manner in order to ensure a peaceful outcome.

These were the views of Mr Yaw Asiedu, the Central Regional Director of Elections of the NDC, Mr Kwamena Duncan, the Central Regional Secretary, NPP, and Mr Bright Edem Droefenu, the parliamentary candidate of the PPP for Cape Coast South Constituency, when they shared the perspective of their parties on peace before, during and after the December 7 elections.

Townhall meeting

The occasion was the Graphic Townhall meeting in Cape Coast yesterday, which also brought together stakeholders, including the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), some civil society organisations, traditional authorities, Muslim communities, academia and fishing communities.

The meeting which was the fourth in a series of town hall meetings organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), was on the theme: “Good Governance, Key to Development and Growth in Ghana.”

Similar town hall meetings had taken place in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region and Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

NDC

Mr Asiedu said the NDC’s motto hinged on unity, stability and development and that the party was for peace at all times.

He said since 1992, when the NPP wrote the ‘stolen verdict’, political parties had called for electoral reforms, including the creation of the Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the District Party Advisory Committee (DIPAC), through which the EC had, among other things, engaged political parties at all times.

He said  it was incumbent on political parties to also convey the right messages to their supporters.

Mr Aseidu pledged the NDC’s commitment to do everything to bring down the political tension and tone down personality attacks in the political discourse.

He  said the party would continue to work hard to change the lives of the citizenry, as well as ensure peaceful coexistence.

In line with that he said, the NDC would continue to engage with the other political parties and deliberate on issues that would ensure peaceful cooperation.

Mr Asiedu said the NDC would not meddle in the work of the Judiciary and the media, and called on other parties to do likewise.

NPP

For his part, the NPP representative, Mr Duncan, said peace was an overriding matter that could not be compromised and, therefore, urged the EC, security agencies, media and political parties to work in concert to maintain the peace in the country.

That, he said, was necessary because if the electoral process did not go well, it would have dire consequences, citing disturbances that had occurred in some neighbouring countries as an example.

“So it is not out of place that we have so far had six elections under the 1992 democratic dispensation, and we are going into our seventh elections but we still need to hammer on peace,” Mr Duncan stated.

On the security agencies, he underscored the important role they played in elections, noting that “in some countries, they are used to intimidate opposing parties, fortunately that is not the case in Ghana, even though there had been some slips here and there.”

He said because the elections also hinged on the winner-takes-all system, they had always been very contentious and advised the media, EC and security agencies to demonstrate loyalty to the state rather than political parties.

“Political parties by themselves must also abide by the rules of engagement,” Mr Duncan urged, adding that “ours is to ensure that we do not do things to inflame passion, avoid defacing opponent’s posters and desist from personality attacks.

PPP

It was the view of Mr Droefenu that the PPP was the most peaceful political party in the country.  “When you talk of a political party that goes about its duty peacefully, it is the PPP; that is why we call on Ghanaians to change from the norms of NPP and NDC to PPP,” he stated.

He also said it was necessary for Ghanaians to imbibe discipline, adding that ought to start from the top.

Mr Droefenu said the PPP had always campaigned on issues and that if the party should be given the nod, it would lead Ghanaians to amend the 1992  so that Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMDCE) would be elected by the people.

“We should also separate the Attorney General’s Office from the Office of the Minister of Justice to inject efficiency into  governance,” he stressed.

Graphic Editor

In a welcome address, the Editor of the Daily Graphic , Mr Ransford Tetteh, said elections engendered competition of ideas and disagreements but that process should not lead to a fight and uproar.

 Mr Ransford Tetteh, Editor, Daily Graphic, addressing participants

He said the townhall meeting was, therefore, an effort by the GCGL to create a common platform for political party’s representatives and the electorate to come together and interact with a common goal of ensuring peace at all times.

Mr Tetteh said the general election was not a do-or-die affair, recalling that the country had gone through the process on a number of occasions.

He charged all stakeholders to work to create a peaceful atmosphere leading to the December 7 elections.

Nana Ackon V

Nana Kow Ackon V, Twaafohen of the Ogua Traditional Area, who represented the Ogua Traditional Council, stressed that peace was an everyday occurrence and not needed only during elections.

“We must live in peace and teach our children what is peace; Let’s love our country and think Ghana first before our political parties,” Nana Ackon urged.

There was a question and answer section, during which the participants engaged the political party representatives on their code of conduct, personality attacks, defacing of posters, among other issues.

 

Source: Daily Graphic

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