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General News of Friday, 7 April 2006

Source: GNA

Ivorian and Ghanaian Political Party Leaders meet

Accra, April 7, GNA - Political Party Chairmen from Cote d'Ivoire and their Ghanaian counterparts have held meeting in Accra to find ways of building peace in the West Africa Sub-Region.

Addressing the meeting Mr Kwame Pianim, an Economic Consultant, said Ghana still needed to develop back channel of communication across the political divide to allow for the building of common grounds on issues of national interest out of the glare of the media. He said there was the need for consensus building on matters that related to the development of the country, which must of necessity be devoid of the usual partisan approach and debate. He said the processes and institutions of the country's multi-party constitutional rule must be deepened to sustain the country's young and fragile democracy.

Mr Pianim said multi-party constitutional rule could only be maintained with daily vigilance and patience of all to wait for their turn and play by the Golden Rule; "what you would not want others do to you, do not do it unto others".

He aid the process of democratisation must evolve and be nurtured through daily struggle and vigilance to keep it in tact and flourishing. Mr Pianim told the Ivorians that the relative peace and stability that Ghana enjoyed currently was the result of great personal sacrifice and patience as well as commitment of the people to ensure change of tenancy at the helm of national affairs through the use of the thumb.

Besides the growth of a vibrant and relatively free press both print and electronic media had helped as part of the social responsibility to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of the affairs of the State.

"We need politically tolerant individuals if the press is to do its work of watchdog. It is a sacrifice politicians have to make. If you cannot be tolerant then obviously the kitchen of politics is too hot for you and it is best you get out now."

Mr Pianim stressed the importance of peace in the West African Sub-Region, saying peace was indivisible in the Sub-Region. "A socially peaceful and politically stable Sub-Region improves the investment attraction of our Sub-Region and creates a positive neighbourhood effect to put our Sub-Region on the radar screen of foreign investors and give security to our own entrepreneurs to go about their task of creating wealth and employment for our citizens," Mr Pianim said. He said a peaceful and prosperous Cote d'Ivoire would help to create the peace of mind for the Sub-Region to focus on the fight against hunger, poverty and disease.

Mr Pianim reminded the Ivorians that the primary responsibility of rebuilding trust among the political elite and the citizenry laid squarely on the shoulders of the citizens.

Mrs Jean Mensah, Administrator of Institute of Economic Affairs, said democracy needed strong and well-established political parties to channel the demands of their citizens to govern in the public good and satisfy the basic needs of their societies. But these objectives could only be attained in an atmosphere, where political parties communicated freely among themselves and worked together for the good of the nation. Mrs Mensah said the IEA and the Netherlands Institute for Multi Party Democracy (NIMD) had collaborated to implement the Ghana Political Parties Programme to deepen dialogue, building confidence and nurturing trust among the leadership of the political parties in Ghana. It is in keeping with these achievements that the IEA and NIMD, agreed to Institute the West African Regional Programme for political parties to extend the gains made under the Ghana Programme.

The West Africa Regional Programme is designed to bring together leaders of political parties, experienced politicians, and civil societies to share experiences and best practices to promote stability within the Sub-Region. Representatives of seven major political parties in Cote d'Ivoire- Ivorian Popular Front; Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire; Ivorian Workers Party; Rally of the Republicans; Movement of the Forces of the Future; Union for

Democracy and Peace in Cote d'Ivoire and Citizens Democratic Union -

are attending the meeting. 7 April 06

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