Yesterday, the Daily Graphic, the flagship of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), held its fifth Town Hall Meeting for representatives of political parties and voters in Accra on the theme: “Good governance, key to development and growth in Ghana”.
The Town Hall Meeting series are the GCGL’s contribution to deepening our democracy, so that the country continues to be the bastion of democratic governance in the sub-region.
For the fifth version of the meeting the representatives spoke on five thematic areas — infrastructure, energy, job creation, agriculture and education.
Although holding such meetings is not our core mandate, we believe that the initiative is in line with the media’s role of educating, informing and entertaining the people.
As the Board Chairman of the GCGL, Prof. K.B. Omane-Antwi, said at the meeting, it was the group’s civic responsibility.
We also believe that through the meetings we are able to create a platform for politicians seeking the mandate of the people to communicate their ideals and what they aspire to add to the development of the country.
The meetings also give political parties the platform to pledge peace and sell their messages, as well as discuss some of the major issues which promote good governance.
Prospective voters, on the other hand, are able to both get educated on trending issues and also ask those seeking political office the relevant questions on all pertinent social and development issues.
Therefore, at the end of the meeting, it is expected that the electorate will be armed with enough information to make informed and insightful choices during the elections.
But while we hold the firm belief that with the right information available to the electorate the right choice of leaders will be made at the elections, we also share in a concern expressed by Prof. Omane-Antwi about the current trend of some religious and traditional leaders openly declaring support for or endorsing some presidential candidates for the 2016 elections.
We believe that just as some groups of professionals, such as members of the security agencies, the Judiciary, the Electoral Commission and even journalists, by the nature of their job, must not openly declare their political affiliations during the electioneering, so do we expect our traditional and religious leaders to do same.
This is because they are independent arbiters to whom many look up and so they must show maturity and neutrality in their day-to-day activities to keep Ghana intact.
Certainly traditional leaders are not helping to keep the nation intact and ensuring peace in the country by declaring their support for one political party because by their acts they will destroy the traditional mechanisms for handling disputes and bring into question the peaceful role they are supposed to play.
The Daily Graphic, therefore, urges traditional and religious leaders to stay neutral to gain the trust of all those who look up to them, so that Ghana will win on Election Day.