With the December 7 election so close, many people are talking about a peaceful outcome. From governance institutions, religious bodies, traditional authorities and even the media, we are all championing the need for a peaceful and democratic process in the cagey elections.
The anxiety associated with the national elections and of losing the election alone are heightening tense moments within the political space. It is therefore right and proper that with barely 34 days to go into the election, there is talk for peace everywhere.
But attaining peaceful election cannot be a lip service. It requires all to commit and continue to unify the citizens before, during and after the election.
Notwithstanding the fact that significant progress has been made in the country’s democratic journey and has had seven successive elections since 1992, many people still sit on tenterhooks with some level of tensions and pockets of violence any time election matters come up.
Ghana fortunately has been described as the beacon and reference point of democracy in Africa. It is for this reason that there is need for a continuous commitment to maintain the peace, especially in the run up to the crucial elections.
GCGL town hall meetings
It is also good to know that many institutions, including the Graphic Communications Group limited, have launched series of town hall engagements to influence citizens and political actors to commit to peace ahead of the elections. I find the town hall engagements apt and practical all in the bid to help ensure that we go through the elections peacefully and come out in peace.
It will particularly require of all political actors and parties, because of the mentality to win at all cost, not to deploy thugs to the polling stations to foment trouble on voting day. The youth must also refrain and resist any attempt by politicians to push them to cause mayhem. The security agencies must also be battle ready to deal with any group or individuals whose goal will be to thwart the peace initiatives and cause mayhem at the polling stations.
The recent political clashes in the Odododiodio Constituency in the Greater Accra Region in which a number of injuries were recorded and similar reports of violence in other parts of the country raise the alarm bell.
Already, the Ghana Police Service has identified about 4,098 hot spots across the country that need to be closely monitored, and that out of the 16 regions, the top five regions with the highest hot spots include the Ashanti with 635 flashpoints, Central with 537, Eastern with 405, Western with 323 and Volta with 321.
Clearly, all these disturbing hot spots and clashes point to the fact that the country cannot go to sleep and think that all is well.
There is this additional problem associated with the proliferation of guns and gun violence in the country. Why do we have so many arms in the hands of ordinary civilians? Where do all these arms come from?
Probably, these and many more are wake-up calls on all of us to work extra hard to maintain peace before, during and beyond elections.
The Ghana Police Service alone cannot be expected to deal with all these security challenges and therefore the public by way of support must assist, particularly by providing timely information, to help the police maintain peace, law and order.
My expectation is for the police to continue to professionally discharge their duties as a law enforcement agency during and after the elections. However, the security agencies can only deliver and deliver efficiently when they have the cooperation of the public.
Peace is a collective responsibility and we all have an equal responsibility to ensure peaceful elections and the protection of the electorate as well as the ballot boxes.
Elections are just a contest of ideas and not grounds for conflicts and all politicians need to do is to sell their visions and plans to the electorate. If the electorate understand, they will give you their power.