28 November 2012

Ghana: A Plea for Peace

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

editorial

Yesterday's gathering at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, at which all the eight presidential candidates signed a peace accord, promising to usher in the December Presidential and Legislative Elections in peace, marked a watershed in this nation's quest for a vote, free from rancour and bitterness.

If the leaders of the various political parties are to be believed, there would be no ballot box snatching, no machomen to intimidate voters to stop exercising their franchise, and no attempt to cheat at the polls. Listening to the eight presidential candidates affirm their social contract with Ghanaians to deliver free and fair elections, one was proud to be a Ghanaian.

The Chronicle commends the organisers of the meeting which produced the Kumasi Accord. The Ghana Peace Council, Manhyia Palace, and the various civil society groups who put the package together, have helped to cool down the political temperature, which threatened to reach boiling point.

With the Accord, the average Ghanaian could sleep soundly in the belief that the mere exercising of his or her democratic franchise would not result in our beautiful country burning.

The political parties and their leaders aside, The Chronicle was cheered by the resolve of the police to be vigilant, impartial, and on top of their brief before, during, and after the elections. The people of Ghana hope and pray that the long speeches, and the signatures put on paper, would not be in vain.

The Chronicle would like to believe that having assured the nation of their commitment to peaceful elections, the leaders of the various political parties would take the message down to the grassroots level, where most of the problems are.

This country is an interesting society. In a number of conflict cases, while the leaders of political parties are seen in public praying for peace, their commitment levels do not usually match the public assertion. In nine out of ten cases, leadership turns the other way when the breach of the peace is committed by trusted aides, right in their presence.

One of the major sources of conflicts is the lack of confidence by the citizenry in the Police Service to be firm and neutral. The ordinary Ghanaian had previously not had much faith in the ability of the police, led by Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, to be up and doing, and without wearing the colours of the party in power beneath the black uniform.

That is why we are cheered by the Inspector-General's presentation yesterday. Having given his word, The Chronicle would like to assure the Chief Constable that we would monitor the behaviour of the Police Service and its leadership in conflict situations, before, during, and after the vote.

We hope that this time round, the police would not turn the other way when violence is visited on citizens, and go on to complain that the men and women on duty have not been instructed to deal with the situation.

Like any human endeavour, there were instances of comic relief that brought a smile or two to the faces of royalty and ordinary citizens present at the Great Hall.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II smiled when former President Jerry John Rawlings prescribed 'Ayaricough' instead of his usual boom. Once again, Mr. Hassan Ayariga was a comic figure. His definition of Ayarigagate as the person who makes the nation laugh, is comedy that could not have been conjured by Bob Okalla. It tells everything about his quest for the leadership of this country.

In all, it was a very serious business, spiced with comedy. By the way, where was the Electoral Commissioner, Kwsdwo Afari-Gyan, the referee, and his linesmen? Why did they fail to report in Kumasi to be part of the accord? We demand to know!

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