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We’re committed to peaceful elections - Stakeholders at GCGL Town Hall Meeting

BY: Mohammed Fugu & Fredrick Daoyenikye
Alhaji Saani Abdul-Razak — NCCE Regional Director, Chief Supt. Yahaya Machiraru, Naa Abdulai Ziblim, Paramount Chief of Lamashegu, chaired the meeting
Alhaji Saani Abdul-Razak — NCCE Regional Director, Chief Supt. Yahaya Machiraru, Naa Abdulai Ziblim, Paramount Chief of Lamashegu, chaired the meeting

Panellists at a Town Hall Meeting in Tamale have expressed the resolve of their respective institutions to ensure a free and fair, and an incident free December polls.

They indicated that the institutions were embarking on series of sensitisation campaigns and engagements with the public on the need for peaceful elections.

The panellists were drawn from the National Peace Council (NPC), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Ghana Police Service, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG).

Town hall meeting

Organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited, in partnership with Spring Consult, the meeting was part of the Corporate in Ghana Peace Campaign geared towards public sensitisation and education on civic responsibilities, ensuring security and also creating the atmosphere for all to work towards achieving peace before, during and after the general election.

It brought together traditional authorities and representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), political parties, youth groups, security agencies, among other groups, to commit to preaching peace for incident-free elections on December 7, 2020.

Sensitisation

At the forum, the Northern Regional Director of the NCCE, Alhaji Abdul-Razak Shani, reiterated the need for continuous sensitisation in the hotspot areas, as well as beefing up security to avert any acts of violence.

He said as part of efforts to ensure an incident-free election, the NCCE had established Inter-Party Dialogue Committees in various communities to defuse any tension that was likely to occur among supporters of political parties.

"We are engaging with chiefs across the region to sensitise them to the vigilante laws to prevent them from shielding any miscreant that may be found culpable of fomenting troubles," Alhaji Shani added.

Law and order

For his part, the Northern Regional Commander of the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, Chief Superintendent Yahaya Machiraru, said the police were fully prepared to maintain law and order before, during, and after the general election.

"We will deal with any person who will foment trouble, we won’t shield anybody found culpable of trying to disturb the peace and mar the beauty of the elections.

“We have marked all the flashpoints and we will be deploying adequate security personnel to those areas," he stated.

Mr Machiraru said without peace in the country the political parties could not implement their manifestos; hence, the need for the political actors to cooperate with the police to safeguard the prevailing peace.

Fair and transparent election

The Tolon District Director of the EC, Mr Benjamin Teye, said it was not possible for the commission to rig the election to favour any political party due to the stringent laws governing the operations of the EC.

He said the commission had a track record of conducting transparent and fair elections since its inception.

He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to have trust in the EC and conduct themselves during the general election.

Incident free election

The Managing Director of GCGL, Mr Ato Afful, in a speech read on his behalf, said the town hall meeting was to provide a platform for the various stakeholders to talk about the need and how to keep the peace of the country as "we campaign for the election, as we vote and as we celebrate our victory or express disappointment over our defeat when the elections results are released".

He advised the public, especially the youth, not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to destabilise the prevailing peace, adding that "an election is about choices and a contest of ideas and nothing else".

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Spring Consult, Mr Offei Aferi, reiterated the need to drum home the message of peace before, during and after the election to ensure an incident free general election.. #GhanaVotes2020