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General News of Friday, 25 November 2016

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Tribal politics must stop – Catholic group

The Knights and Ladies of Marshall has condemned the influx of tribal politics ahead of the 2016 elections.

The two main political protagonists – John Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo – have accused each other of resorting to the tribal cards in the electioneering.

The Catholic Friendly Society has admonished political actors to eschew messages that could plunge the nation into violence going into the December 7 polls.

“We are particularly concerned about recent events that point to political intolerance, especially the recent clashes between supporters of NPP and NDC as well as fanning of ethnic and religious differences, which have the potential of degenerating into violent conflicts. We condemn such acts and urge all political parties and indeed all citizens to exercise decorum, tolerance and civility in their campaigns and canvassing for votes,” Sir Kt. Bro. Ernest Amoako-Arhen said in a statement.

Below is the full statement:

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS BY THE NOBLE ORDER OF THE KNIGHTS AND LADIES OF MARSHALL

Introduction

As we get closer to the General Elections on 7th December, 2016, the Knights and Ladies of Marshall would like to add their voice to other bodies like the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference and the National Peace Council in calling for peace before, during and after the elections. The Knights and Ladies of Marshall is a Catholic Friendly Society which is dedicated to service to country and Church with over 12,000 members.

Concerns and Recommendations

We are particularly concerned about recent events that point to political intolerance, especially the recent clashes between supporters of NPP and NDC as well as fanning of ethnic and religious differences, which have the potential of degenerating into violent conflicts. We condemn such acts and urge all political parties and indeed all citizens to exercise decorum, tolerance and civility in their campaigns and canvassing for votes.

While we pray and work for peace in our country, we do recognize that peace is grounded in justice. We therefore urge the key actors like the Electoral Commission and the Security Agencies to discharge their duties in a transparent and just manner without fear or favour. In this regard, we also urge the Government to ensure that these Agencies receive adequate resources and logistics in time to undertake their task more effectively.

Democratic elections are not only essential practice of good governance but also a mechanism for citizens' participation in the National development process. The choices we make and the peaceful management of these elections can either enhance or retard our National development agenda. We therefore call on all eligible voters to exercise this patriotic duty by turning out on the polling day to cast their vote in a manner that is based on their own conviction about what would promote their wellbeing. Additionally, the electorate must abide by the regulations guiding these elections as defined by the Electoral Commission. Discipline and self-comportment are required by all to ensure peaceful elections.

The media is critical to national peace and security. In this regard, we call upon the media to uphold the highest journalistic values and ethics in their reportage of the electoral process. It is desirable that before the media publishes any information related to the election, such information should not be based on hearsay, but should first be verified to be the truth. Patriotism should be at the centre of journalistic commentary on the elections. With specific reference to these elections, we wish to persuade the media to only publish official results declared by the EC at the various levels.

Conclusion

Ensuring peaceful elections is everybody's business and therefore each individual, organization or group must first think about their role in this regard rather than finding blame in others. Various institutions, structures and individuals must work diligently towards peaceful elections. The utterances, actions or inactions of just one group, body or individual can mar the peace and setback the development process.

Signed by: Sir Kt. Bro. Ernest Amoako-Arhen (SUPREME KNIGHT)