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General News of Friday, 28 October 2016

Source: GNA

A timely start of peace efforts is invaluable – Prof. Asiamah

Prof. Seth Opuni-Asiamah, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the GhanaProf. Seth Opuni-Asiamah, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana

Professor Seth Opuni-Asiamah, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Peace Council, has underscored the need for an early commencement of processes geared towards attaining electoral peace in the country, for much more effective impacts.

He noted that the four-year gap in between elections in Ghana was long enough a period to begin peace processes and said this would enable the citizenry to get sensitized and saturated with the peace phenomenon long before electioneering procedures started.

“It is hard to understand why Civil Society Organisations, other international donor entities and the government waited till the election time was so close before they stampeded through with their respective peace programmes” he added.

Prof Asiamah also chair of the Ashanti Region Election Early Response Group (REEWARG) was interacting with a section of the media in Kumasi after a press conference held by the group.

He said though Ghana is touted everywhere as a peaceful country, timely efforts must not be spared to protect the prevailing peace, adding “prevention is better than cure, we don’t need to wait till it happens before we act”.

In a statement read to the press, REEWARG expressed grave concern about the vilifying campaign modes adopted by political actors denigrating each other to win more votes.

It observed that “such a campaign trail of discordant messages in a heavily polarized political climate, if not checked could be a recipe for violent conflicts”.

The REEWARG said the growing hatred, acrimony and rancor that the situation was likely to stir, could set the stage for a vicious cycle of personality attack reprisals which could be a precursor of violence.

The media was also reminded of the critical roles they played and continued to play in sustaining Ghana’s democratic dispensation which is admired by all on the international scene.

“We however counsel strict adherence to factual accuracy and all the other ethic of your profession.

“This time let’s all help to make this election another successful and peaceful one by preaching and re-echoing peace messages in your reportage till the whole atmosphere is diffused and resonates with nothing but peace, it added.”

The Early warning group launched in Kumasi in August this year, is one of the regional groups formed in all the country’s 10 regions with the goal to pick up early election threats and recommend strategies to mitigate and forestall their occurrence or escalation.

The group works in collaboration with the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and is receiving sponsorship from the USAID.

The Ashanti REEWARG has already identified some potential risk groups and have made moves for engagements.

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