The National Peace Council (NPC) has called on all those contesting the outcome of the December 7, 2020, election to use the laid down processes to address their electoral disputes.
“Besides, the National Peace Council would like to draw the attention of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) about their public commitment to peace and non-violence when their presidential candidates ahead of the December 7, 2020, Presidential & Parliamentary Elections signed the Peace Pact on December 4, 2020.
“It is also worthwhile to refer to the admonition of His Lordship the Chief Justice at the event, where he called on all those who may have grievances emanating from the election to seek legal redress at the court instead of on the streets,” it said in a statement signed by its Chairman, Rev. Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi.
In the interest of preserving Ghana’s peace and democracy credentials, the NPC urged those with grievances to do so within the legal framework and guided by the 1992 Constitution, Political Parties Act (2002), Case laws based on the 2012 Supreme Court election petition, the Regulations 127 (CI) among other legal regimes.
It recalled the NPP’s resort to the courts to seek redress when it was dissatisfied with the 2012 general election, which resulted in rather positive outcomes that led to significant reforms in Ghana’s electoral system.
“In the same vein, the National Peace Council encourages the NDC to follow suit to deepen our democratic gains rather than taking to the streets; a potential threat that can spark post-election violence and mar the entire peaceful election process,” it said.
The statement urged the media to be sensitive about a potential escalation of violence and approach their work with circumspection and professionalism.
It also called on the police to enforce the laws without fear or favour and investigate all crimes committed to ensure justice.
It urged the NDC and NPP to uphold the peace documents they had signed by calling on their supporters to refrain from acts of violence and vigilantism after the December election.
“The National Democratic Congress in particular should restrain its followers from acts of vandalism and destruction and encourage them about the party’s willingness to resort to legal processes in addressing their grievances,” it stated.
The statement entreated all religious and faith-based organisations to continue to urge their followers to avoid acts of violence and to resort to non-violent mechanisms for addressing their electoral disputes.
“The council calls on the National House of Chiefs and all our respected traditional rulers to condemn any acts of violence within their traditional areas to secure peace after the election,” it said.
It commended the Electoral Commission (EC) for a good work done which ensured efficiency of the biometric devices used during the voting process on December 7, 2020.
“The council is grateful to all political parties, the National Elections Security Taskforce, international observation missions, domestic election observers, civil society organisations, religious bodies, and the media for their independent, and objective assessment of the electoral processes which contributed immensely to the peaceful conduct of the election,” it said.
It said the near absence of political vigilante activities in the flashpoints identified by the police, the EC and the NPC before and after the December 7, election was also commendable.
It said that was indeed a demonstration of the commitment by the political parties to the Roadmap and the Code of Conduct which they signed after the dialogue to eradicate political vigilantism in Ghana.
It, however, expressed regret at the pockets of violent incidents including protest actions that were recorded during and after the collation and the declaration of the election result, some of which resulted into injuries and fatalities.
While expressing its condolences to the bereaved families, the NPC condemned those incidents and called on the Police and other investigative bodies to hold to account the perpetrators in line with the laws of the land.