General News of Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Source: myjoyonline

Presidential candidates converge in Kumasi to endorse peace

We commit to reducing their occurrence in the short term and eradicating them in the medium to long term. We intend to speak out against all such acts whether committed from within the ranks of our party or our opponents. We will conduct our campaigns in such a way that the security forces can carry out their mandate of ensuring law and order at all levels. We will intensify the education campaign so teach our followers of the electoral codes of conduct. We also pledge to hold ourselves mutually accountable as peers in promoting fair, peaceful elections. We commend highly the National Peace Council and Palace for organizing this historic meeting and all the actors whose participation demonstrated the desire for fair, just democracy in Ghana.

Two crucial principals to democratic governance contained herein: we the presidential candidates, having participated in the first high level meeting meant to reduce ongoing violence, impunity, and fraud, and conscious of the fact that the meeting took place close to the election and in a political and social context in which the public is justifiably concerned about electoral violence, and recognizing that fair and peaceful elections depend on the enforcement of electoral laws and the support of parties for these laws, and responding to the growing demand for the punishment of electoral crimes through fair, timely trials, motivating this historic meeting, we the candidates, conscious of our membership in the community of national leaders and the responsibilities to security that these offices carry, declare that it is time to take a definite stand against electoral violence impunity, and injustice, which are contrary to the collective good and can be stopped through collective leadership efforts.

I invite the candidates to sign the Kumasi Declaration, which they have read and whose contents they agreed to. They sign on behalf of themselves, their party followers, and the people of Ghana.

We must not deploy violence to seize ballot boxes, chase opponents from our strongholds, and prevent people from voting. Elections must not victimize those whose mandate the candidates are seeking. To the contrary, it should be a matter of national pride and joy given that it presents us the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of liberty.

All powers of government spring from the sovereign will of the people, one instituted through a voting process not marred by intimidation or manipulation. The citizens of this country are entitled to exercise their right to vote in the same way that judges have the right and obligation to judge.

I am encouraged that all candidates have responded positively to the invitation by this meeting’s organizers.

Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood said: It is extremely important that we have elections with integrity which are free, fair, peaceful and transparent and will produce an outcome that is mutually satisfactory.

God moved us as a nation, and macho men from previous elections have pledged not to interfere this time around. As the only independent candidate, I say let us think about Ghana and about peace, that we might move beyond the horizon of 2012 elections so that we can fight our common enemies of corruption and poverty. God bless us.

Power must not come at the expense of the blood of the people. We are here this afternoon, all of us yearning for peace. Let us walk the talk so that peace might prevail here, and our nation will once again appear on the world map as the oracle of world peace.

Because my mother is 80 years old and has metal in her leg. If there is violence, how will I be able to carry her? There are pregnant women and there are children here.

Today, if you have invited all of us and our religious and traditional leaders are here, why is it that when we are running this nation, we relegate them to the background? We must all reflect on the fact that until we include these leaders in our democracy, our lives will continue to be threatened.

How long can we remain in this state of apprehension any time an election comes around? Obama advised us that if our lives are challenged, it means we need to take another look at the democracy we are practicing.

Independent candidate Joseph Osei Yeboah said: Today, our collective coexistence is being threatened as we seek a democracy that will ensure our development.

That’s how we will have peace. The youth of the country want it. Thank you.

The only times Ghanaians become violent is when they feel cheated or that justice has not been done. Whatever party the violence comes from, you must hold them accountable.

The president vows peace and will stand for peace.

If someone has given you a gun, told you to steal a ballot box, or do something else illegal, for God’s sake please don’t do it.

Everyone hearing us today is going to sign a public statement here pledging their commitment to peace and electoral fairness.

The only thing I see left is our sense of integrity and honesty.

Everywhere I go, I have heard that people want peace. Ghanaians are among the most peaceful people in the world. We are praying for peace, Muslims and Christians. We are all committed to peace in this country.

I am here on behalf of Dr. Sakara, who for reasons beyond his control could not be here (he was out of the country and could not get a flight in time.)

The Convention People's Party (CPP’s) Abu Sakara, represented at this meeting by his Vice, Sherita Sarpong stated that: Thank you to all the former presidents, Madame Chief Justice, the head of the security agencies, the presidential candidates, and everyone here and those listening to us today.

Many leaders have sacrificed their lives to maintain this peace so that we might inherit it. We want peace. Thank you.