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Politics of Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Source: GNA

Northern Region inaugurates council to ensure peaceful election

A 13-member council mandated to evaluate the weekly political barometer of the Northern Region and whip the political parties to stay in line with the 2012 Political Parties Code of Conduct has been inaugurated.

Dubbed: “Monday Civic Campaigns Council (MCC) Report,” the body comprises five regional chairmen of the political parties.

The members comprised Professor Haruna Yakubu Vice Chancellor of University for Development Studies, Most Reverend Phillip Naameh, Catholic Archbishop of Tamale and Alhaji Abdul-Salam Ahmed, Chief Imam of Tamale Central Mosque.

The rest are Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Basha, Head of the local Sunni Community, Captain Frank Adzraku, of the Tamale Sixth Battalion of Infantry, Chief Muhammed Bawa, Member of the Council of State and Mr. Mustapha Sanah, Executive Chairman of Northern Ghana Aid (NOGAID), a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

The Civic Campaigns Report Council is under the Northern Region 2012 Multi-Party Democratic Governance Support Project of NOGAID

The project is being sponsored by STAR-Ghana, multi-donor pooled funding mechanism funded by DFID, DANIDA, USAID, and EU to increase the influence of Civil Society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Government, traditional authorities and the private sector.

Mr. Mustapha Sanah, Executive Chairman of NOGAID said the importance of democracy and good governance cannot be underestimated since the dividends have been quantified through the reward the nation had received from the international community through bilateral and multilateral support and other direct foreign investment.

“The turbulent history of the Northern Region in terms of chieftaincy, political and ethnic conflicts cannot be shelved in terms of the collateral damage it has caused the area.

“The Dagbon crisis is one key problem that has dragged on for more than 10 years to the detriment of peace and development, and I believe that no person or organisation interested in the progress of the region will like the situation to remain unresolved.

“It is therefore the collective responsibility of northerners to take the necessary steps to ensure that the December 7 General Election present a golden platform to redeem the dented image of the region by ensuring peace before, during and after the Presidential and Parliamentary polls,” Mr. Sanah said.

He said the project would train constituency youth organisers and two members of the communication team of each of the parties across in 15 constituencies in good political communication.

It will deploy political monitors and observers to record the campaigns of the political parties as well as other activities and submit the information to the council.

The report will be reviewed weekly to see whether the parties are conforming to the political parties code of conduct.

“The outcome of the evaluation of the will be published in a weekly two-page newsletter and discussed in the media.

“These are all geared towards encouraging political parties to play by the rules to enhance our democratic process.

Mr. Sanah said the region has extraordinary security and development challenges and it would be too expensive not to safeguard the relative peace during the political campaigning process.

“By the grace of God members of the MCC Report Council have the varied background and experience that could ensure peaceful and stable elections in the region.

“By their pedigree in their distinguished fields of service and profession, I believe they will live nobody in doubt that they have the qualities to let the whole world know that there are talents and skills in the north that can prove the doubting ‘Thomases’ wrong, by providing absolutely impartial advise and recommendations to political parties in furtherance of peace and stability.

“Members of the council are to ensure that the political parties do not compromise national unity by shying away from intemperate language that could threaten the fragile peace in the region. Members will have the platform to counsel, caution or name and shame any political party or parties that seek to sow the seed of disunity, conflict and retrogression in a region that deserves only peace and stability and nothing else.

“The political parties must therefore carry out their campaign in line with the political parties code of conduct for 2012 in order not to endanger the peace in the region.

“I therefore encourage the members as well as the media to employ maturity in their duties and boldly condemn violence irrespective of where it is coming from,” Mr. Sanah said.

Mr. Abdallah Kassim, Project Consultant and Executive Director of Rural Media Network, an NGO, noted that in their quest for victory in the coming elections, the ruling National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party are mustering all the destructive arsenals in their political armoury to rake havoc.

He said the region cannot afford the politics of insults and called on the political parties and other stakeholders in the elections to give peace a chance.

Archbishop Naameh also implored people of the region to give peace a chance by conducting themselves well during and after the December 7, General Election.**