General News of Saturday, 1 December 2012
"If Presidential candidates don’t act in a way that will bring peace, signing a peace pact will amount to nothing," says Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of the "Insight" newspaper.
He believes political leaders need to rise up and speak to their followers to maintain peace, especially during and after the upcoming elections.
Earlier this week, Presidential candidates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akufo-Addo; National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama; Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr Abu Sakara; People’s National Convention (PNC), Hassan Ayariga; United Front Party (UFP), Akwasi Addai; Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom; Great Consolidated People’s Party (GCPP), Henry Lartey and an independent candidate, Mr. Joseph Osei Yeboah, converged in Kumasi to sign a peace pact and to outline what they intend to do to consolidate the prevailing peace in the country.
Interestingly, a few days after the signing of that significant peace pact, there was alleged exchange of gunfire between supporters of the NPP and the NDC during a door to door campaign being embarked on by the opposition party’s Parliamentary candidate for Manhyia, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh.
However, the Ashanti Regional Police command sought to somewhat downplay has revealed that the gunshots fired at the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Parliamentary candidate, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh and his supporters at Ashtown in Kumasi on Thursday, were not politically motivated. They insist that the incident was not a political issue. “It is purely a criminal act and that is how we are going to treat it.”
Speaking as a panelist on Radio Gold’s "Alhaji and Alhaji", Mr Pratt noted that it will take more than just appending one's signature to a document to maintain peace in this country.
“The fact that eight people signed and appended their signatures on a piece of paper does not guarantee peace. It is a welcomed gesture but that is not what will bring peace in the country. The mere signing of a document by eight persons does not guarantee peace and I think it is important that we note that seriously…” he said.
The seasoned journalist cautioned the media to be ‘extra careful’ in the discharge of their duties to avoid the initiation of any insurgency: ‘because it is clear that there is some psychological preparation for an insurgency…and those planning should be careful’.
“The media has a special responsibility of ensuring free and fair elections. Some of the statements we are hearing on the airwaves are offensive and they will undermine the integrity of our election process and it is important that presenters become the good gatekeepers that they ought to be in order to ensure that our country is safe…” he added.