THE National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has entreated the youth to champion the cause for peace and tolerance before, during and after the elections.
It has also entreated Ghanaians, political party leaders, agents and members of political parties to desist from activities that will incite violence in the general elections.
Those activities include insulting opponents and destroying their party banners and posters; removing opponents’ posters and flags; use of provocative language against opponents during rallies and meetings; transporting people to opponent camps to destroy their items and multiple voting, among other activities that would hamper peaceful elections in December.
The Senior Civic Education Officer of the NCCE in the Greater Accra Region, Mr Albert Odoi Anim, made this known at a press launch of the “Yes for Peace: Role of the Youth in peaceful Election 2012” project last Saturday in Accra.
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The “Yes for Peace” project seeks to engage youth leaders across the country to inculcate into their minds the necessity of responsibly leading their fellow youth through a peaceful and serene election season.
It also sought to sensitise the youth to understand that violence would only destroy their future and the future of their friends if they allowed themselves to be used as agents of destruction in the election season.
The project, which has attracted some participants in the Kennedy-Lugar YES programme in the United States of America, would take place across the country in Kumasi, Kpando, Hohoe, Tamale and Yendi.
Speaking at the press launch on the topic: “The importance of Voting in National Elections”, Mr Anim observed that the youth needed to live up to their civic rights and responsibilities to ensure peace in the elections.
“You should know that while laying strong claims to your rights and freedoms, you should allow others to enjoy their rights and freedoms without any hindrance. It would be morally and legally wrong to intimidate anybody from exercising his or her franchise,” he opined.
In addition, Mr Anim discouraged the use of violence, pressure, fear and intimidation as political tools to struggle for power, recommending that the best form of politicking was the one that addressed issues such as education, health and agriculture through dispassionate, critical and objective analysis of facts and figures.
He indicated that human emotions, desires and expectations were involved in elections. Due to that, every election situation would become volatile unless caution, circumspection and tolerance were exercised.
He, therefore, urged all citizens to exercise tolerance in their homes, workplaces, churches (in general social interactions) and in the election period so that Ghana would go through its democratic process of election peacefully.
The Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbilla, advised the youth to stay out of trouble and conduct themselves peacefully at all polling stations.
He called on them to assist the police positively in ensuring peaceful elections and report any abnormalities, problems or lapses they would find at polling stations to the appropriate authorities, and also respect electoral laws.
“You are the vibrant element of the society and everybody would want to use the youth but do not allow yourselves to be used as agents of destruction”, he advised.
The regional commander also assured them that the police were ready to ensure a peaceful elections, adding that there was the need to strengthen the capacity of the police and urged all stakeholders to make an input in that direction in ensuring peaceful elections.
The leader for the “Yes for Peace” project, Mr Urmar Mohammed, used the occasion to appeal to all political individuals to desist from taking advantage of the jobless youth in the country to set them on the path of destruction.
“As young people of the country, we have given ourselves the task of doing our best to avert the eruption of political violence because we cherish the fragile peace we have in the country”, he observed.
Written By: Eric & Josephine