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General News of Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Help end electoral violence - Rev. Anyani-Boadum urges political leaders

The Presiding Bishop of the Jesus Generation Ministries, Rt Rev. Dr Nana Anyani-Boadum, has asked political leaders to be courageous in demonstrating ownership of the policies of their political parties and the desire to lead to minimise electoral violence in the upcoming election.

He argued that in the current circumstances, it was hard to distinguish the leaders from the followers noting that looking at the electioneering activities of the politicians, it was not obvious who exactly was leading.

Dignified politics

Sharing his perspectives with the Daily Graphic in Accra, Rt Rev. Anyani-Boadum posited that by practice, legitimate and dignified political parties flourished with their own ethos alongside values, customs and traditions, moral and ethical behaviours and the display of habits which not only distinguished them from others, but good enough to secure the integrity of the nation’s stability.

“We have had six presidential and parliamentary elections since the country's return to parliamentary democracy. The temptation is to think we know the tell-tale signs of what lies ahead with the upcoming elections. This connotes danger, if that is our current attitude,’’ he said.

Rt Rev. Anyani-Boadum expressed concern about the unsavoury utterances, trickery, provocative communication, and other activities that had the tendency of sparking mayhem in our society ahead of the polls, adding that the hard-hitting debates, the harsh criticism, and the negative spirited attitude towards one another did not portend well for nation building.

Also of concern to the clergyman are the already disturbing media reports of party activists losing their eyes through attacks by political opponents and cited the case of two political activists at Odododiodoo who became victims of gunshots by perceived political opponents.

Violent attacks

He also spoke about the recent health walk by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which turned violent when some members of the party allegedly threw stones and bottles into the house of the flag bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Rev. Anyani-Boadum further decried reports of supporters of some political parties ransacking the offices of the Electoral Commission (EC) in the Asunafo South Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region and Suhum in the Eastern Region forcing the EC to suspend its operations.

In his view, what accounted for such political hawkishness and the perennial toxic political environment was the dearth of political leadership and weak commitment of political leaders to guide activities of their followers.

Political commentators

He turned the spotlight on political commentators who spread partisan agenda with little or no knowledge of the legal and administrative framework of the EC in relation to the work of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and constantly denigrated the EC and its chairperson, Mrs Charlotte Osei, in an attempt to undermine and set society against the election management body.

“We need to understand that in every nation, state institutions represent the spine around which the society is built. The absence of a properly functioning State predicates hegemony of thugs over that society. State institutions are created to breathe life in the State organism,” Rt Rev. Anyani-Boadum maintained.

He added that playing on the emotions of the public against the EC for parochial political interest, in spite of the great work the EC was doing to bring about transparency, was not in the best interest of society.

Show leadership

For him, political leaders should lead instead of deliberately stepping aside and allowing their followers to lead by making decisions or setting the agenda for leadership, adding that the subtle abdication of responsibility and the cowardice attitude on the part of the political leadership to discipline their followers was worrying.

“Political leaders should not be complicit in the glorification of hate speech, tribal and religious rhetoric by their following. The effects of behaviour of leaders on the ethical behaviour of followers is crucial in nurturing a democratic society,” he added.