Regional News of Monday, 3 December 2012
Source: Mathias Aboba-Bolga
Story by: Mathias Aboba-Bolga
Refrain From Acts Of Indiscipline On Election Day: Health Workers Advised
Dr J. Koku Awoonor-Williams, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services has made a passionate appeal to health workers in the region and the public at large to exercise the highest retrain and eschew all forms of indiscipline in matters relating to the upcoming elections so as to maintain the relative peace and tranquility enjoyed in the country.
Dr Awoonor-Williams made the appeal when he addressed participants at the end of a two-day training workshop on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application in health, in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital. “As I speak we are just a few days away from the December 7th, 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections. I will like to use this opportunity to appeal to you and indeed everyone who will be participating in the elections to make it a point to desist from any act that will put the life of any individual or group of persons at risk of harm or anything that will impact negatively on the elections”, Dr Awoonor appealed.
He noted that as citizens of Ghana everyone has an obligation to contribute to a peaceful electioneering process in the upcoming general elections. In his view we can guarantee an issue-free election by making sure that no one conducts him or herself in such a manner that will lead to tension and apprehension. He implored: “Let me tell you, as eligible voters just as we are expected to go out and cast our ballots for our favorite candidates, we are equally obliged to maintain law and order. No one should therefore throw caution to the wind and engage in acts of indiscipline which will in turn generate violence”.
Dr Awoonor-Williams particularly cautioned against the rowdy use of motor bikes before, during and after elections which he said has led to deaths and injuries in the past. He also admonished health staff as civil servants not to compromise the political neutrality expected of them. He pointed out that apart from flouting the law that prevents civil servants from frontline party politics, staff who engage in such acts run the risk of being victimised by their superiors which can have serious repercussions.
Touching on the objectives of the GIS training, the Regional Director said authorities in the region plan to change the face of health planning through the use of GIS application. He stressed that in the past few years, evidence have shown that geographic information technology can have transformational effect in health planning, and in the light of this the Upper East region looks to leading the way in this new area of health development. He entreated the participants to take interest in trying out the skills they acquired from the training. Dr Awoonor-Williams went to express gratitude to the Ghana Essential Health Intervention Program (GEHIP) for pioneering the initiative.
The call by the Regional Director of Health Services is considered timely and appropriate and adds to the voices of many well-meaning Ghanaians who have expressed great concern over the use of violence - inducing language and other acts of indiscipline in our body politicking. Some of the most talked about acts of indiscipline include reckless and abusive use of vehicles particularly motor bikes in the campaign process by the various political parties’ supporters.
It is undisputable that Ghana has lost precious lives during elections periods in the past twenty years since the country returned to constitutional and multi-party democracy. It is on record that most of these deaths have been caused through road crashes, a lot of which result from blatant disregard for road traffic regulations including drunk driving, overloading and over speeding.
According to the National Road Safety Commission, some 4,124 people lost their lives through road crashes in the last two election years. This year there have been a number of reported cases of road accidents in activities related to the electioneering process resulting in deaths and injuries and damage to property worth millions of Ghana cedis.
With less than a week to the December 7th, 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections and with campaigns of all eight political parties in full swing across the country, experts believe it will take only persistent education and cautions from leadership to prevent nastier things from happening in this year’s elections.