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Feature Article of Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Mahama: Ensure That Ghana Remains Peaceful

By Kofi Thompson

Violent protests erupted in Egypt a few days ago - resulting in at least 22 deaths - when a court handed down over 21 death sentences in punishment for the Port Said football disaster of 2012.

It is unfortunate that violence in once-stable Egypt has today resulted in a nation with an economy in tatters.

At all costs, Ghana must avoid a similar fate, when the decision of the Supreme Court judges enpanelled to hear the petition filed by the defeated presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, challenging the declaration by the Electoral Commissioner of President John Mahama as victor in the December 2012 presidential election, is finally delivered in open court.

Ghanaians do not need, and cannot afford, such turmoil in what for many is still a harsh existence in a poor developing nation - despite the undoubted economic progress made since debt-forgivance by the wealthy Western nations under the Highly Indebted Poor Country initiative: accessed during the early part of the 8-year tenure of the NPP regime of President Kufuor, between January 2001 and January 2009.

Politics in Ghana ought to be about ensuring the well-being of all its people, and protecting the best interests of the Ghanaian nation-state at all material times - not the parochial designs of political parties and the greedy ambitions of the powerful and self-seeking amongst their membership. It is that negativity that invariably leads to violence.

To ensure steady economic growth that will lead to national transformation, which uplifts millions from poverty, it is vital that Ghana remains peaceful and stable, going forward.

The interchange of ideas about achieving that is what ought to be the focus of our politics - and engage the minds of members of our political class.

When there is competition of ideas about moving Ghana forward, the best ideas will come to the fore and help push Ghanaian society forward.

President John Mahama will have to show extraordinary leadership throughout his period in office.

He must ensure that there is general consensus in the country that the rapid development of Ghana ought to be the priority of the nation.

He must adopt a creative approach to consensus-building.

To lessen tension in the country, for example, he must constantly reach out to Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and the leaders of all the other parties whose presidential candidates he defeated in the December 2012 election.

They have a vital role to play in ensuring Ghana's stability, at this critical juncture in Ghana's history.

The Mahama administration must show them maximum respect at all times for that reason - and it is important that the said leaders of the opposition parties also reciprocate such gestures.

(Incidentally, the pro-National Democratic Congress media must be prodded by the president and his party, to be decorous when engaging the leadership of the opposition parties in their reportage. They ought to be respectful whiles holding those leaders of the opposition parties to account for their actions and inaction. But I digress.)

Above all, President Mahama and his administration must ensure that Ghana remains peaceful in the period leading up to, and the immediate aftermath, of the day that the decision of the Supreme Court on the petition by the NPP's presidential candidate challenging the declaration by the Electoral Commissioner of the president as the winner of the December 2012 presidential election, is delivered. A word to the wise...

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