Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NGM urges EC to remain resolute against criticisms

     The New Ghanaian Movement (NGM) a political think-tank on Friday urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to be resolute in performing its constitutional obligation to ensure that democracy prevails in the country.
       Ms. Ayishetu Addy, NGM Deputy General Secretary expressed concern about the independence of the EC in the face of mounting criticisms and pressures from interest groups in the run-up to the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections.
       The NGM Deputy General Secretary said the EC must be encouraged to fulfil its duty to the nation, adding: "where there is confusion, the political parties should use the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) platform to resolve it amicably".
      Ms. Addy stated these in Accra at consultative meeting with some democratic and electoral stakeholders to analyses the political environment over the past months.
      The NGM commended the EC for the orderly manner the just ended photo-taking exercise was conducted and challenged the commission to use the opportunity to begin the process of purging the register of illegal names even before the exhibition of the Provisional Voters Register.
    The Movement also lauded the decision by the Chief Justice to appoint special judges to oversee electoral disputes, saying the effectiveness of the judiciary is important in the electoral process.
    "A quick and impartial resolution of such cases would prevent aggrieved persons from seeking "self-help justice" through vengeance and attributed the recent political clashes to the inability of the police to treat complaints with dispatch.
    "If the police and indeed the EC will promptly deal with all electoral complaints without any impartiality, aggrieved persons will have no need to seek illegal and alternative means to have their grievances resolved.
    "Electoral complaints need to be resolve expeditiously for the country to enjoy peace before and after the elections…we cannot afford the effect of instability if people decide to take the law into their own hands," she said.
     The Northern Sector NGM representative said political activities in August was characterised with hot air being blown on the political scene and called on the political parties to stop beating the "war drums" as the election day draws nearer.
      Mr. Emmanuel Alangtura noted that there are many sides to democracy tenets and the parties should be the first to realise this and learn to use the due process to settle political disputes.
      "We the people must also take appropriate lessons from this and act responsibly, to bring our influence to bear on our families and communities," he said.
     He also tasked the security agencies to be proactive and exhibit high sense of neutrality in their operations as mostly violent erupts when those tasked with upholding their rights and law and order fail to perform as expected, people lose confidence in them and resort to settle scores their own way.
     "It is for this reason that I will like to appeal to all those who have a role to play in ensuring a peaceful, orderly and fair elections on December seven to discharge their duties with dispatch and impartiality, since justice delayed is justice denied," he said.
     The NGM also expressed concern about political violence in certain parts of the country and urged politicians not influence their supporters, to indulge in violence.
     "Our politicians must realise that the youth are our future leaders and Ghana is the only country that we have, so we must not do anything that will endanger their well-being and the country's stability," he said.
    Youth from the various political parties who attended the meeting pledged their commitment for the conduct of peaceful elections.

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