General News of Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

All must work towards peace - Rawlings, Kufuor declare

Two former Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor, have stated that the mere signing of a peace covenant by the presidential candidates contesting the December 7 elections was not the panacea to ensure peaceful elections.

They contended that although the move was commendable, peaceful elections also rested on the shoulders of other key stakeholders and even the ordinary party supporter.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Tuesday, during which all the eight presidential candidates appended their signatures to a novelty and historic electoral pact, Mr Rawlings said there was the need for fairness in the electoral process to prevent any unwanted situation.

He said he just returned from a peace mission in northern Ghana and developments there indicated the threat to peace was real.

Consequently, he said, any activity that could change the situation for the better, such as what the National Peace Council (NPC), the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Manhyia Palace did, was welcome news.

Mr Rawlings said Ghana had been blessed with peaceful transitions in the Fourth Republic and nothing must be made to dent that image.

He indicated that although there had been pockets of electoral violence in the country, “we have to be thankful to God that none of these has ignited into full-blown conflict”.

He stated that in spite of the need for peace, people must be vigilant on election day to ensure that no one stole the verdict.

Mr Rawlings challenged the media to play a leading role in peaceful elections, instead of muddying the waters.

For his part, former President Kufuor noted that the presidential candidates did not sign the peace pact for themselves but for the nation at large.

That was because any form of violence would have dire consequences for the population, he said.

Mr Kufuor urged the security agencies and the EC to do their work with diligence and honesty.

The Inspector-General of Police ( IGP), Mr Paul Tawiah Quaye, outlined the preparedness of the security agencies for the elections, pointing out that about 41,000 personnel of the National Elections Security Task Force and an additional 5,000 soldiers would be out to police the elections.

He said post-election plans would be activated to monitor the situation in the country until April 2013.

Mr Quaye pointed out that the quest for peace did not rest on the security agencies alone but every Ghanaian.

The President of the National House of Chiefs, Wulugu Naba Pugansoa, Naa Prof John S. Nabila, said chiefs, as peacemakers, continued to play their roles in their communities.

He called on Ghanaians to take a stand against provocative acts.

The Chairman of the NPC, the Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Asante, thanked the Asantehene for the major role he played in bringing the event into reality.