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Regional News of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Source: GNA

Violence during registration is a threat to peaceful elections - FOSDA

Violence as a result of disagreement Violence as a result of disagreement

The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) says violence during voter registration exercise is a threat to peaceful elections; hence political parties must act responsibly.

A statement signed by Mrs Theodora Anti, the Programmes Manager, FOSDA, said the Foundation was worried about the increasing reports of violence at registration centres across the country.

"With just five months to go into the general elections, reported violent cases during the voter registration exercise across Ghana are dangerous and posed serious threats to the upcoming December 2020 Presidential and Legislative elections," it said.

"Ghana’s 2020 voter registration exercise has unfortunately witnessed quite a number of complaints, counter accusations and violence in various constituencies which has led to reported injuries and the death of at least one person."

It said the incidences might be isolated, but they were certainly indicators of how peaceful Ghana’s 2020 elections would turn out if action was not taken to address the issues instigating them.

FOSDA therefore, called on the leadership of the two main political parties, especially President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and former President John Dramani Mahama to call their rank and file to order to ensure peaceful and responsible conduct by all.

"We also call on the leaders of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP) to urge their members and followers to use legal means to address all issues arising out of the registration to protect Ghana’s democratic gains."

FOSDA is especially concerned because with just five months to the elections, the country may not have enough time to heal from these violent incidents and conflicts before December 2020.

It said for instance, the incident at Ayawaso West Wuogon happened over a year ago, but it was still fresh on the minds of people with a lot of referencing to that incidence.

It noted that beside the trajectory of violence that had characterised Ghana's elections since the fourth republic started in 1992, there seemed to be on the increase leading to high tension each election year.

It said the signs for 2020 elections were threatening and all stakeholders must play their part to safeguard Ghana’s image as one of the most peaceful countries in Africa.

"We also call on the police and the security agencies to exercise their mandate fairly and ensure that all persons, irrespective of who they are or which political party they belong or their positions; persons who conduct themselves contrary to the provisions of the laws of Ghana are dealt with equitably," it said.

It intimated that report so far indicated that some people are posing as political party vigilantes as defined by section 1 the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, 2019 (ACT 999), must be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.

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