General News of Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Presidential candidates pledge peace

The presidential candidates contesting the December 7 polls have pledged to work towards peace before, during and after the elections.

They also pledged to educate their supporters on the need for them to refrain from all acts that had the potential to disturb the relative peace being enjoyed in the country.

The candidates made the pledge at an event at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi Tuesday.

They also signed a peace pact known as the “Kumasi Declaration”.

The candidates are President John Dramani Mahama, contesting on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Henry Lartey of the Great Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

The rest are Messrs Akwasi Addae (Odike) of the United Front Party (UFP), Hassan Ayariga of the People’s National Convention (PNC) and Jacob Osei Yeboah the only independent candidate. The presidential candidate of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Dr Abu Sakara Foster was represented by his running mate, Nana Sarpong Kumankoma.

The National Peace Council (NPC), the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), and the Manhyia Palace jointly convened the meeting with the presidential candidates contesting the December 2012 elections.

The meeting was held on the theme “Promoting peaceful elections and justice” with the aim to getting the candidates to publicly take a collective stand against "electoral violence, impunity and injustice" which were a recurring problem of elections in Ghana.

The meeting provided public space at which the presidential candidates openly and collectively took a stand against all acts of electoral violence, impunity and injustice during and after the December 7 elections.

Throughout the year, and also much earlier, fear of electoral violence as a major threat to the upcoming December general election, has been growing

In attendance at the Kumasi event were the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodore Wood, former Presidents J.J. Rawlings and J.A. Kufuor, the President of the National House of Chiefs Prof. Naa Nabila, the Inspector-General of Police (Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye and members of the National Peace Council.

In the declaration, the presidential candidates said they recognised that free, fair and violent free elections depended on political parties.

“We shall strengthen the organization capacities of our members to control themselves”, they pledged.

“We shall take a definitive stance against electoral violence and impunity because they were acts which were detrimental to the peace and welfare of the country”.

“That ahead of the forthcoming elections, we shall forcefully and publicly speak out against violence … and seek to collaborate with the police service”.

“We shall conduct political campaigns in a manner that will enable the police to perform their roles to enforce the law ….. and pledge to hold ourselves accountable as peers”.

The candidates commended the National Peace Council and the Manhyia Palace for taking the bold initiative on peace.