17 August 2012

Ghana: Re-Emergence of Inflammatory Discussions Recipe for Chaos

The National Enforcement Body (NEB) for the Political Parties Code of Conduct has warned that the re-emergence of inflammatory discussions has the potential to polarize the Ghanaian society.

The Body "therefore appeals to the media, especially hosts of radio stations, leaders and members of Political Parties, and persons who phone into programmes to stem this tide," read a statement issued on Monday at the close of a meeting by members of the NEB in Accra.

The statement further read: "The NEB asks that hosts of programmes engage in more diligent moderation, that measured language devoid of personalised and partisan attacks be used in public discourse, and the sensibilities of listeners be respected especially in matters that affect the personal lives of the subject under discussion."

The statement came as political parties resumed active politics, having suspended their activities in lieu of the demise and subsequent funeral for the late Prof John Evans Atta Mills, who died as president on July 24, 2012.

Prior to the death of Prof Mills, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the largest opposition, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had been at each other's throat, casting various insinuations and sometimes engaging in open badmouthing of each other.

The two-week period of mourning the ex-leader seemed to have offered some people respite from the daily bout of polarisation, including the NEB.

In acknowledgement, the NEB's statement commended political parties for putting national interest above party interests and for collaborating with the Funeral Planning Committee to ensure a befitting funeral for the late president.

"The Body views with concern however, the recent re-emergence of inflammatory discussions which have the potential to polarise the Ghanaian society," it stated.

It added: "In the run-up to the December general elections, the Body is urging all Political Parties and the general public to continue to exercise tolerance and uphold a civil political discourse to ensure peaceful elections."

The body also took the opportunity to congratulate all Ghanaians and political parties for the smooth transition of power following the untimely death of Prof Mills. It also had congratulatory messages for Prof Mills' successor, President John Dramani Mahama and new Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, on their ascension to the first and second highest national office of the land respectively.

The NEB was established by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) with the approval of political parties and mandated to monitor the conduct of the political parties and their supporters to ensure they behave in the manner that is consistent with the provisions of the 2012 Political Parties Code of Conduct, a document adopted by the IEA and the Ghana Political Parties Programme (GPPP) to guide behaviour of political parties ahead of the December 2012 general elections.

Meanwhile, NED and all ten Regional Enforcement Bodies would be embarking on a campaign to heighten education on the Political Parties Code of Conduct at the grassroots level. "This is to ensure that Political Parties and their activists/ supporters are aware of the provisions of the Code," the statement said.

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