Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Presidential aspirants urged to ensure peaceful elections

     Presidential aspirants of the various political parties have been urged to put Ghana above their individual political ambitions to ensure Election 2008 was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.
     In addition, the leadership of the political parties were asked to condemn and discipline their activists and functionaries who used abusive language or encouraged violence in political campaigns.
     Madam Afi Yakubu, Associate Director of Foundation for Security and Development in Africa, (FOSDA) an NGO made the appeal at the launch of "Ballot Not Bullets" peace march in Tamale on Thursday.
     The march organized by FOSDA was to sensitize the public, especially youth of the various political parties on the need for Ghana to achieve violent-free elections.
     The participants marched through the principal streets of Tamale Metropolis.
     Madam Yakubu stressed the need for leadership of political parties to sanction their supporters who intimidate others and endeavour to agree on the dates and time for organizing rallies in the constituencies in consultation with the police to avoid conflicts.
     She appealed to the police to prosecute offenders in electoral malpractices in a transparent manner as well as anyone found in possession of small arms.
  Madam Yakubu said the march was also to 'drum home' the message that people in Northern Region were peace loving therefore, government officials and civil society should work in the interest of Ghana to ensure peaceful Election 2008.
     Nana Obiri Boahen, Minister of State and Chairman of Ghana National Commission on Small Arms in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Patrick Timbilla, Director of Operations, Ghana Police Service said it was illegal to possess and use unlicensed firearms.
     He urged Ghanaians to stop acquiring weapons in anticipation of conflicts, saying: "Too many firearms in our communities would be a sure threat to security and development."
     Nana Boahen urged political activists to resolve to settle their differences amicably through dialogue rather than bullets.
     He said "Elections are about ballots and not bullets, about visions and not ammunition, about good policies and not atrocities and about getting good developmental results for the good people of Ghana and not insults."
     Professor Kaku Sagary Nokoe, Acting Vice-Chancellor of University for Development Studies (UDS) urged Ghanaians to shun people who used the deprived, malnourished, hungry and aggrieved in society to creat conflicts to achieve their aims.
     Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister stressed the need for peace in the Region and urged opinion leaders in the communities to imbibe in the youth, values of tolerance and patience and desist from advocating hatred in their minds.
     Mr Iddrisu Abu, First Regional Vice-Chairman of Convention Peoples' Party (CPP), on behalf of the various political parties gave the assurance that they would unite and cooperate to ensure violent free elections in the Region.


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