27 November 2012

Ghana: Towards Peaceful Election 2012 - Otumfuo Summons Nana & John

Photo: Ghana Govt
President John Dramani Mahama at his swearing in ceremony. (file photo).

The heightened political temperature in the run-up to next month's presidential and parliamentary elections has compelled Otumfuo Osei Tutu Ababio II, and the National Peace Council (NPC), to summon President John Dramani Mahama, leader and presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, representing the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Abu Sakara Foster from the Convention People's Party, and other presidential candidates to Kumasi to discuss matters of peace.

The Ashanti King, popular known in Kumasi as 'King Solomon,' due to the astute manner he handles chieftaincy matters, has extended a similar invitation to former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor and the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, to participate in the meeting with the presidential candidates, which is slated for the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, today.

Though both President John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo, frontrunners of next month's elections, have been preaching peace on their political platforms, pockets of violence are being reported from some of the constituencies, raising fears that the elections itself, would be marred with violence if nothing is done.

Dr. Sakara, who has also joined the chorus calling for peace, however, thinks the elections would be free, based on certain factors.

"You cannot have development when you don't have peace. So, as for peace, we must never disturb the peace of this country. But, peace is contingent on justice. Where there is injustice, you will often find trouble, and that means people are not law-abiding where the rule of law does not exist; where somebody wants to have more than their fair share at the expense of another. Those are the things that cause the disturbance of the peace," he stated, when addressing the congregation of the International Charismatic Church in Accra on Sunday to thank God for his continued blessings to him ahead of the December elections.

His conditional statement appears to have found favour with former President Rawlings, who is warning politicians contesting the December elections, not to corrupt the electoral system which could lead to electoral violence.

Mr. Rawlings, who is also on a peace mission across the country, also advised parents when he visited Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region recently, to warn their children to stay away from violence during and after the elections.

Today's peace meeting, which would also be attended by the youth wings of the various political parties, would be presided over by Otumfuo himself, and would start at 10 a.m.

All the presidential candidates and the political parties they represent have indicated their intention to attend the meeting. Meanwhile, an official source at the Manhyia Palace has confirmed to The Chronicle that Otumfuo would be attending the meeting.

According to the source, as a responsible citizen, the Asantehene believes in peace, and would do everything possible to ensure that there was peace in the country.

Meanwhile Sebastian R. Freiku reports from Kumasi that the founder of Macho Men for Good and Justice, Nana Kwabena Boakye, has suggested that traditional rulers must assume the responsibility of meeting their subjects periodically, to preach peace to them before, during and after the elections.

He said since chiefs were in constant touch with the subjects on a daily basis, it would be proper they take advantage of their closeness to the people, and tell them the need to ensure that peace prevails at all times.

Nana Boakye said such fora should also be used to educate the people about the dangers of civil strife, to ensure peace in this year's elections.

The chief said it was incumbent on chiefs to complement the efforts of the government and the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that their subjects go to the polls in peace at the local level

He recommended that chiefs put in preparations for the late counting of ballot papers, by helping to provide generators for the EC in their communities.

Nana Kwabena Boakye also appealed to the National Peace Council, Christian Council of Churches, and the Ghana Muslim Mission, as well as institutions and stakeholders, to show maturity by not being partisan in addressing national issues.

He indicated that since the people cannot rely on the security apparatus for safety, because it was manned by the government, the good counsel of these institutions would help make the country safe for people to go about their normal duties.

He advised security personnel not to operate on partisan lines, but as professionals to safeguard peace-loving Ghanaians.

Nana Boakye reiterated the resolve of macho men to channel their strengths and valour into protecting the lives and properties of the country, unlike the previous years when they were engaged to cause unrest.

He said, by their stand, macho men should not intimidate the populace by running around the various polling stations fomenting trouble, but rather be agents of change, to enhance the democratic credentials of the country.

The founder pleaded that the members of the association would work to protect lives and property, and ensure peaceful and successful elections in December.

He said non-members of the association, who follow politicians to cause mayhem, should be made to face the full rigours of the law.

According to him, politicians who are found to have engaged the services of macho men for the wrong reasons should be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to people bent on causing confusion.

Nana Boakye recommended the use of motorbikes and pick-up vehicles by persons around polling stations should be banned on Election Day, and that any group of persons who go against this directive, should be made to face the full rigours of the law.

Nana Boakye also urged the EC to give the media the needed recognition in covering the elections, and further cautioned the media to be circumspect in their reportage of the electoral processes, in order not to inflame the passions of politicians and their followers.

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