Panellists at the Graphic Corporates in Ghana Peace Town Hall Meeting in Ho yesterday expressed optimism about peaceful elections in the Volta Region.
The panellists, made up of officials of the Electoral Commission (EC), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the National Peace Council (NPC), were of the opinion that in view of the measures put in place by their organisations, the elections would be one of the most peaceful to be witnessed in the Volta Region, in spite of recent skirmishes by certain groupings in the region.
They pledged to uphold peace before, during and after Ghana’s eighth general election in the Fourth Republic in order to safeguard the tranquillity currently being enjoyed in the country.
The campaign, spearheaded by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), is to create a platform for stakeholders to commit to ensuring that Ghana maintains its enviable atmosphere of peace during the electioneering.
The Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, commended the GCGL for the premium it had placed on peace as the country drew closer to the elections.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Regional Minister, Rev. Johnson Avuletey, Dr Letsa said: "As a leading company in the media space of our nation, the voice of the GCGL in national development is formidable, and once again, through this programme, you have shown that protecting our gains and working together to further our gains have been paramount to you."
He noted that the people of the Volta Region and Ghanaians at large had enjoyed peace over the years because they were intrinsically peace-loving.
The well-attended meeting saw various organisations, including the security agencies, political parties, traditional authorities, government agencies and private institutions, giving assurances not to allow anyone or group to use them as conduits to foment trouble during the elections.
Their pledges followed a panel discussion which sought to educate and sensitise participants to the various issues surrounding the elections.
The Director of Marketing at the GCGL, Mr Franklin Sowa, assured Ghanaians that the company would use its platforms to deliver truthful and accurate news content to enhance Ghana's peace and development.
He said the Daily Graphic, as a brand, was committed to ensuring that it continued to sensitise the public to the need to ensure peace during and after the elections.
"The Daily Graphic will avoid inaccurate and sensational reportage; we will remain your professional and respected brand, and we will use all our platforms to educate the public and sensitise them to the devastating effect of electoral violence because elections are about choice and not violence," he said.
First class election
The Deputy Volta Regional Director of the EC, Mr. Eric Dzakpasu, said the commission was poised to deliver first-class elections in an atmosphere of professionalism, integrity, fairness and transparency.
Nonetheless, he said, the conduct of credible elections hinged on a collaborative effort and collective responsibility.
“We owe it to ourselves as a country to make these elections very successful and peaceful. It takes the contribution of everybody to do that,” he said.
That, he said, would be achieved when voters abided by the rules governing the elections.
He re-emphasised the position of the EC that voters should retire to their homes after casting their ballots and only return at 5 p.m. to watch the counting of ballots at the polling stations.
Mr Dzakpasu urged other media outlets “to go the Graphic way” with truthful, factual and accurate reportage, devoid of sensationalism and partisanship, because the media owed the country peaceful elections with their reportage.
The Volta Regional Police Crime Officer, Chief Supt Mrs Mercy Brown Wilson, on behalf of the Regional Police Commander, said the command had been working together with other security agencies to protect the state.
She cautioned miscreants against fomenting chaos during the period, since the security agencies would not renege on their duties of ensuring and safeguarding peace in the country.
The Deputy Volta Regional Director of the NCCE, Mr Oral Robert Amenyo, said enough public education had been conducted on citizens’ civic responsibility of exercising their franchise and pledged the commission’s support for peace during the elections.
The Chief Executive Officer of Spring Consult, partners in the organisation of the Town Hall meeting, Mr Offei Afari, urged political parties and the youth to put their energies into the development of the country and be advocates for peace.