6 December 2012

Ghana: School Children Cry for Peace in 2012 Elections

Kwatire — School children at the D/A Primary and Junior High School at Kwatire in the Sunyani West District in Brong-Ahafo have called on all the presidential candidates contesting the Friday elections to accept the outcome to avoid political mayhem.

According to the children, in every contest, only one person could be crowned the winner, and appealed to them to accept defeat to ensure peace after the elections. The children made the call at a forum at Kwatire to climax this year's Child Abuse Prevention Month, which was instituted by the Global Media Foundation last year, under its Ghana Child Abuse Prevention Project (G-CAPP).

The children used the occasion and appealed to the government to provide them with adequate teaching and learning materials to ensure quality education. They further called on their parents to provide them with the necessary needs, such as school uniforms, books and other learning materials that would enhance their academic performance.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Media Foundation (GLOMEF), Raphael Godlove Ahenu Jr., cautioned minors to stay away from voting, since the 1992 Constitution prohibited children under 18 years from voting.

He, therefore, called on the law enforcement agencies to arrest any minor who would attempt to vote on election day to serve as a warning to children in future elections.

Mr. Ahenu Jr. noted that hundreds of thousands of children were physically abused each year by someone close to them, while thousands of children died from the injuries.

On sexual child abuse, he said, regardless of the child's behaviour or reactions, it is the responsibility of the adult not to engage in sexual acts with children, adding that sexual abuse was never the child's fault.

He mentioned touching or kissing a child's genitals, making a child fondle an adult's genitals, forcing a child to undress, spying a child in the bathroom or bedroom, exposing children to adult sexuality such as performing sexual acts in front of a child, exposing genitals, and showing pornography films to a child as some of sexual abuses against children.

According to him, in order to prevent child abuse, there was the need for the government and other stakeholders to put in place protective factors against child abuse and eliminating the risk factors for child abuse.

He said under the child abuse prevention programme, it was expected that about 85% of vulnerable children would be empowered to protect them from harm, marginalisation and violence, through the creation of a strong protective environment.

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