General News of Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Source: The Herald Newspaper
Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday took everyone including the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, ex-President Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor by shock when he gave conditions under which the forthcoming elections would be peaceful, but the presidential Candidate of the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga, replied appropriately.
Presidential Spokesman, John Jinapor, has disclosed that at a closed door meeting that Otumfuo Osei Tutu held with all the flagbearers, he asked them to register their grievances before the public forum. Nana Addo refused to speak, saying he had no grievances, but mounted the peace pact platform and traded accusation. This, according to Mr. Jinapor, was a slap in the face of all the dignitaries by a man who has the penchant for violence.
With barely eight days to the general elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer wanted what he said were deliberate violent attacks on his followers to be investigated by the government and the security agencies to create room for a peaceful election on December 7.
Speaking at the signing of a peace pact at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Nana Addo mentioned a purported attack on NPP supporters in the Asutifi South Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region by the supporters of Transport Minister, Collins Dauda, and called for arrest and prosecution of the attackers.
The peace pact, dubbed “Kumasi Declaration” according to the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), the Peace Council and the Manhyia Palace, is to ensure that the seven candidates contesting this year’s elections, commit to a peaceful election process by calling their supporters to order when the need arises.
But Nana Addo, also cited the Yaw Boateng-Gyan tape, and said it must also be investigated by an independent body with the report of the investigations published, adding the people do not feel that the security agencies are “party-colour blind”.
The, NPP presidential candidate did not mention the recent destructions of posters and election materials of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at his hometown Kyebi in the Eastern Region.
The NPP candidate also did not call for investigations into the deadly tape in which the ex-NPP National Youth Organizer, Anthony Karbo, was captured saying his party was bringing mercenaries from Togo, Libya, Benin and other countries to foment trouble at the elections.
Nana Addo also failed to cite the claims by his Mr. Kofi Jumah that during the last elections, he carried guns and already thumb printed ballots papers to the Tain Constituency.
Hassan Ayariga,who was the forth presidential candidate to speak at the programme, took exception with Nana Addo’s comment, expressing shock that at a peace forum, some candidates were not talking about peace but giving conditions for peace, adding that looking stern and fearful don’t make one look presidential.
Hassan Ayariga described himself as a man of peace, and that people must be made to feel they were being led by human beings in a peaceful environment.
All the eight presidential candidates contesting in the December general elections signed a peace pact in a bid to ensure they commit to a peaceful election process by calling their supporters to order when the need arises.
Also present at the venue, were members of the Peace Council of Ghana, the Chief Justice, Mrs. Therodora Georgina Woode, the Inspector General of the Ghana Police Service, Paul Tawiah Quaye, and other dignitaries including the President of the National House of Chief, Naa Prof. John S. Nabila, Togbe Afede of Asogli State, Mauvi Wahab of the Ahmadhya Muslim Mission.
President John Dramani Mahama pledged his commitment to a violence-free election because he had been a man of peace who had led by example.
“I have avoided any inflammatory comments against any of my opponents and have gone the extra mile to communicate to my team to take a cue from my character and communicate as decently as they can.”
He said he was sure the 2012 election will consolidate Ghana’s credentials as probably the best democracy in the world.
“On the world stage at the UN general assembly, I called on the international communities that were interested in monitoring and observing our elections to feel free to do so. A few of them have turned down the invitation because they say Ghana’s democracy has matured and there is no need to supervise the election,” he intimated.
“We must therefore arise as a people and make sure nothing mars this great respect and esteem in which we are held”.
“Our government has worked to create an environment to have a peaceful and successful election. We have provided the resources that the Electoral Commission needs to be able to conduct elections without any hitch,” he said.
On his part, the flagbearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom also vowed that his party would play by the rules of the game in the December polls.
According to the Dr. Nduom, the PPP sits on the foundation of peace and have educated all members to be decorous in their speech.
“We must also recognize that free and fair elections do not just happen on the day of voting, it is something that must happen throughout the year. Nobody in this country can point to one PPP member that is or has been involved in violence.”
“We want to also affirm to you that our party will continue on the cause of peace and ensure that the stability we enjoy in this country is protected,” he opined.
Former President of the Republic, Jerry John Rawlings called on the two leading political parties contesting the December general elections, to exercise restraint in their actions in order to ensure a peaceful election, come December.
Mr. Rawlings noted that though, from a “social psychological stand view”, there was an imminent clash between the two parties, it was important that the “clash, even if it’s going to take place, does not end up in a manner that creates conflict and antagonism”
The former President called on Ghanaians to not “take our peace for granted” because there have “uncomfortable levels of tension and indeed, several instances of violence and threats of violence.”
“We have to be thankful to God that some of these have not ignited into full blown conflict.”
“I am in no way suggesting that people should be meek and mild. People should have a right to be responsibly vigilant during the electoral process,” he noted.
The former President appealed to the security agencies to be “professional, impartial and forthright in the execution of their duties.”
He noted that the media had a huge responsibility to ensure that the strictest of values were adhered to during political discussions.
Former President Rawlings also called on the Judiciary to resolve all electoral disputes swiftly to give the process credibility.
On his part, former President, John Agyekum Kufuor has called on all Presidential candidates contesting the December general elections to submit to the choice of the electorate.
“Anybody wanting to lead us must submit to our choice; we must vote for him or her to become President just like when we get fed up with him, we go again to vote to take him out of power to put another person there.”
Ex-President Kufuor opined that it is necessary to safeguard the peace of the country because “from history, people have done all sorts of things to secure power. Some will kill, some will lie, some would do anything, anything, buy to get the power… but power belongs to the people.”
He called on all stakeholders to be alert because “as politicians, we do all sorts of things. At the end of the day, the vote of the people may not come as pure and as true as the people would want.”
This, he said, would ensure that whoever was chosen as President would command the respect from every citizen in the country, adding that, “this is where peace will be secured for all of us.”
“If at the end of the day, the vote is not secured this way, if substantial numbers of the people will begin to feel that they have been cheated one way or the other, I assure you the grumbling might degenerate into untold difficulties for the entire nation,” he added.