Ghana: Bishops Condemn Violence During Voter Registration

Accra — The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has condemned the violence witnessed during the voter registration exercise conducted by the Electoral Commission of Ghana.

"We note with great concern the nets of politically orchestrated violence in the Ejura-Sekyere-Odumase constituency in the Ashanti region, Kasoain the Central region, Asutifi South and Tano South constituencies in the Ahafo region, the Dormaa West constituency in the Bono region, Ho West in the Volta region and Fadama and New town in the greater Accra region just to mention a few," the bishops said in a July 22 statement signed by Archbishop Philip Naameh, chairman of GCBC.

The prelates lamented that after 27 years of democratic governance, Ghana is still experiencing political violence during elections.

Calling on political parties to honor the agreement signed against vigilantism and restrain their members from violence, they noted that the parties have the obligation to report members disrupting the electoral exercises.

"We would like to remind all political parties, particularly the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) of the agreement they signed against vigilantism and restrain their members from engaging in acts of violence in the name of politics. Political parties should show their commitment by handing over to the police any member of their group who misconduct themselves or act in ways that will disrupt the registration exercise," they said.

They further urged political parties to exhibit political maturity and stay away from acts that can cause violence during the electoral process.

"Acts such as bussing people and illegally registering people at various polling centers will create some form of violence, as both parties will not agree to that and hence may ignite some form of violence they said," they noted.

They also called on the police to be professional and unbiased in their duties.

"Police and other security agencies should not be seen to be shirking their responsibilities .If some people commit criminal activities with impunity and get away with it, this may lead to loss of confidence by the victims in the state to provide them with safety and peace for which reason they may be compelled to devise their own individual means of protection," they noted adding that political violence by vigilante groups may draw back the nation's democratic and socio-economic gains.

The sparks of violence claimed one life at Banda Ahenkro and left a score others injured.

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