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Opinions of Thursday, 17 January 2008

Columnist: Akomea, Bill Graham Osei

Lessons from NPP & CPP congress

A peaceful election -Lessons from NPP & CPP congress

Yet another election year has come. The country shall be electing a new leader this year to take over from His Excellency John Agyekum Kuffour.In times like this; a lot of fear is anticipated. People feel uncomfortable especially upon the memory of what has befallen other countries during their elections. Christians, Moslems and other religious bodies do not forget to ask for the intervention of God whenever they pray. This is all because of the violence and other vices associated with elections. At the moment the people of Kenya are not at peace at all because of elections. Peace and fairness is therefore the prayer of everyone during elections.

As we approach our elections come December this year, I would like my fellow Ghanaians to learn some lessons from the congresses of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP). The NPP and CPP elected their flag bearers and other leaders last year. We are all aware of how peaceful their electoral process went. A lot of people thought with as much as seventeen aspirants the NPP’s elections will end in violence. There are few lessons I would like us to learn from that to make our elections peaceful and successful.

Firstly, the way the electorates were ‘pampered’. Even about more than a year to the elections various aspirants comb round the country seeking the mandate of the delegates. A lot of messages were preached to them and the air waves were full of news from the campaign grounds of the various aspirants. How often the delegates were chased by the aspirants, their being transported to the election venue, camping, among others. These made the delegates felt not only important but proud. No wonder the kind of enthusiasm with which the part took in the elections.

Secondly, the understanding and cooperation exhibited by the aspirants. Although there were some hitches here and there as they went about campaigning, on the whole, we saw the kind of political maturity exhibited by the various aspirants (17, NPP and 6 CPP). This is what democracy and for that multi party elections is about.

Moreover, how the losing aspirants conceded defeat peacefully. We are all witness of how peacefully the aspirants who lost in the elections (especially, Mr. Allan Kyeremateng of the NPP) conceded defeat. This is the most crucial stage in elections. Most wars brought about by elections are as a result of the losers not conceding defeat.

I will there appeal to the electoral commission of Ghana to intensify the education about the elections. They should make Ghanaians feel important of having the right to elect the leaders of this country. Churches, Mosques and schools should also join in the sensitization to help reduce the political apathy.

To flag bearers of various political parties, understand each other and do not see your opponent as an enemy. As you go about your campaigns, desist from the use of abusive words. Let us see that multi party elections have come to stay for good in Ghana. Set the good examples for your followers or supporters to emulate. Whoever loses should peacefully concede defeat as there is bound to be losers and a winner.

We need peace and tranquility to progress as a nation. Let us all therefore endeavor to contribute our quota so that the peace we are enjoying today is not taken away through this election.

By ; Bill Graham Osei Akomea Faculty of Law Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology Kumasi

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