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Mon, Sep

What is your pledge towards peaceful election?

This year’s elections are barely three weeks away (22 days) and we want all Ghanaians to make pledges to ensure that the elections are conducted peacefully.

So what is your pledge? We are not referring to the National Pledge, which most people either do not know or cannot recite. Meanwhile, those who know and can easily memorise it have lost its sense and true meaning.

People often make pledges that they know they will never honour — that is not the pledge we are referring to.

The Daily Graphic is speaking of a solemn pledge by all to conduct ourselves in such a manner as to engender peace and not strife before, during and after the December 7 elections.

It is true that we have successfully held six consecutive general elections since 1992 and on every occasion we have sailed through and held up our heads high as a people who desire peace and not war.

Nonetheless, we always experienced some level of politically motivated violence during past elections, especially among the major political parties, and this year is no exception.

Some pockets of violence have already been reported across the country in the run-up to Election 2016, with the latest occurring last Sunday between some members of the two major parties — the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) — around the residence of the flag bearer of the NPP.

Once or twice too during previous elections, there had been the fear that the nation would be plunged into chaos because of the high level of tension, such as happened during the  hearing on the 2012 elections. 

As we grow in our democracy, we need to resolve to put the petty bickering, sheer loathing and intolerance of others’ views behind us.

We need to resolve to be accommodating of diverse views on national issues. We need to remind ourselves that as there is diversity in our make as Ghanaians, so will there always be differing views on issues of concern to all of us as Ghanaians.

We must always know and accept that there is no one more Ghanaian than another and that we all have a stake in the running of the country.

The Daily Graphic, therefore, urges all Ghanaians to champion peace during this year’s elections by making individual solemn pledges not to incite members of opposing political parties with hateful and unpalatable comments likely to incense others and result in violence before the election date.

We also urge all voters not to go to their polling stations in party attire or with party paraphernalia but peacefully cast their ballots on Election Day, move away from the polling stations and return only to watch the counting of ballots if they so desired.

After the elections, all members of the various political parties must accept the final outcome as a true reflection of the desire of the majority of Ghanaians.

We must resolve not to allow ourselves to be used by any politician or political party to foment trouble and disturb the peace, bearing in mind that such violence does not disturb those politicians the way it affects ordinary citizens.