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General News of Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Source: GNA

Rawlings thanks Ghanaians, calls for peace

Accra, Dec. 10, GNA - Former President Jerry John Rawlings on Wednesday thanked all Ghanaians for their huge voter turn-out and exemplary level of comportment throughout the voting process on Sunday. A statement from the Office of the Former President said it had been three gruelling days since the elections and it was now almost certain that the elections were due for a run-off between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He thanked all who had supported the message of Professor John Evans Atta Mills and the NDC for change and voted overwhelmingly to send out a strong message of equity for all.

"Right from Greater Accra, Northern, Central, Upper East, Upper West, Ashanti, Volta, Eastern, Western and Brong-Ahafo regions Ghanaians spoke with one voice calling for change."

Former President Rawlings said winning six out of 10 regions and making significant inroads in all the other regions in terms of votes won, both on the Presidential and Parliamentary front, meant that Ghanaians had woken up to the reality that elections were about issues and not about mudslinging.

"All evidence point to a run-off between the two leading parties and Ghanaians need to wake up to the realisation that they have the destiny of Ghana in their hands," he said.

He said the process of enlightening Ghanaians about their right of choice was initiated by the NDC government, which culminated in a peaceful transition in 2000.

He called for "respect for the true value to this basic tenet of democracy by respecting the will of the people and avoiding acts calculated to manipulate the people's choice". "It promises to be another gruelling three weeks of electioneering and we need to gird our loins and remain resolute while we convince those who did not get our message or were confused about what positions to take," he said.

The statement reminded Ghanaians on the importance to eschew negative practices and refuse to be drawn into situations that would harm the peace that had so far been maintained in the country, while they went about their national duty of calling for change. He said it had been said over and over again that it took very little to destroy the peace.

"I call on all Ghanaians to remain strong and resolute in the midst of provocation and intimidation. Success does not come easy and will require a lot of willpower and perseverance."

He also called on all foreign interests including observers, media or governments, to respect the sanctity of the election process and avoid subtle actions or inferences that tended to expose their support for one candidate or the other.

He said Ghanaians are mature and independent enough to make decisions for themselves and it was important that any commentary on Ghana's elections was done with utmost circumspection and diplomacy. "Posterity will judge us for the great efforts we made in 2008 to create a new image for our mother country, Ghana. Let us work hard to seal the change that we have started and congratulations to you for the job done so far," he said. 10 Dec. 08

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