Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Politicians urged not to blame their failures on ethnicity

A political scientist and an election expert has advised politicians to be bold but honest enough to critically analyse the reasons for their performances in the December 7, 2008 elections instead of play tribal cards.
 Professor Ansah Koi, a Senior Lecturer at the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, said it was disturbing and unfortunate that some politicians were blaming their failures on ethnicity and tribalism.
 He was responding to issues at a day's consultative workshop for peaceful run-off elections in Kumasi on Monday. It was organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) and attended by journalists, security personnel, party representatives and civil society organizations from the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions.
 "The country is not entirely polarized as is being made to believe or portrayed by politicians," he emphasised adding that the swinging voting patterns in the Central and Greater Accra regions should not be misconstrued as voting on ethnic or tribal bases.
 "When they vote in their favour, they keep quite but when against them they read all sorts of meanings," ProfessorAnsah Koi said.
 He said the December 7, 2008 elections had shown that politicians could not take the electorate for granted and they should therefore, be honest enough to find candid reasons for their failuresand make amends.
 Professor Ansah Koi said the run-off was a great challenge to the peace and security of the nation and urged all stakeholders to avoid complacency and play their roles effectively

to consolidate the success and peaceful atmosphere.
 Professor Irene Odotei, a member of the NPC, stressed the need for respect of the country's tradition and custom to serve as a guide to the democratic dispensation.
 She said ethnicity was there to make the nation and its people diverse and unique and that Ghanaians should not allow politicians to use tribal sentiments as their game plan to cause confusion.
 Professor Odotei, therefore, called on Ghanaians to strongly condemn politicians who tried to play tribal or ethnic politics to achieve their aims.
 Mr Francis Azumah, a representative of the UNDP, said the first round was the commitment of all Ghanaians to the democratic dispensation and advised them to continue to ensure peaceful elections in the run-off.
 He said the UNDP would continue to support initiativesthat sought to bring peace and greater transparency in all aspects of national life.
 Mr Isaac Owusu, Deputy Ashanti regional Director of Electoral Commission (EC), said so far the Commission had not received any petition challenging the outcome of the elections in the region, adding that, the region recorded 73.3 per cent turn-out in the December 7, elections.
 He, however, mentioned long queues, problems in the transfer list and the special voting as some of the challenges the Commission faced during the elections.
 Mr Owusu said the Commission would create additional polling stations for stations, which had more than 1,500 voters' population during the run-off.
 Mr Kwabena Kese a member of the NPC, re-echoed that the voting on December 7, attested to the fact that, Ghanaians were becoming more discerning and that politicians could not take them for granted.
 He called on all stakeholders to play their partseffectively to ensure peace after the run-off elections on December 28, 2008.

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