The Brong Ahafo Regional Peace Advisory Council has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to be fair in its judgement of all matters concerning the December 7 polls in order to safeguard the integrity of the elections.
The council also urged the EC to exercise a high degree of integrity in the release of election results to eliminate suspicion and rumours associated with delays.
Nana Adjei Ababio, the Regional Peace Promotion Officer, made the call in his welcome address at a day’s stakeholders forum organised by the council in Sunyani on Tuesday to get the commitment of all stakeholders in the electoral process, especially political parties, to ensure peaceful, free and fair polls on December 7.
The forum was on the theme “Towards Peaceful Election for the Peace and Development of Ghana”.
Nana Ababio appealed to all political parties to respect and abide by the commitments made in the Code of Conduct and extend full co-operation to election officers in the performance of their legal duties in order to ensure peaceful and orderly elections.
“We wish finally to reiterate the fact that Ghana’s decision to adopt multi-party democracy has not made us enemies of one another. Therefore, this year’s elections, like all previous ones, should not be associated with hatred, enmity, rancour, ill-will and acts of hooliganism or violence”, he stressed.
Nana Ababio on behalf of the council, appealed to the security personnel who would be assigned during the elections to be proactive, and act expeditiously in the event of any breaches of the law during or after the elections.
“We on the Peace Council believe that peace is critical to the attainment of the development goals of any society. That is why the Peace Council is calling on all Ghanaians to redouble our efforts in ensuring that the December 7 polls are held in a very peaceful environment”, he added.
Representatives of four political parties contesting the December polls, namely, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), People’s National Convention (PNC), National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) who spoke in the order of their party’s positions on the ballot paper, pledged their commitment to peaceful, free and fair elections on December 7.
They also called on the media to be circumspect in their reports in the run-up to the elections and desist from announcing uncertified results which could create confusion.
Dr R. Agyenim-Boateng, who represented the NPP, said the party had no plans of rigging the elections as it was being alleged, and added that the NPP would also accept the results that would be declared by the EC after the elections as the party’s contribution towards ensuring peace.
Mr Joseph Ghartey of the PNC on behalf of his party, said the PNC was always committed to peace and would play its part to ensure that there was no violence during and after the elections for the country to continue to enjoy peace and stability which are prerequisites for development.
For his part, Mr Kwasi Oppong Ababio, who represented the NDC, called for a level playing field for all the political parties and called for total independence of the EC, saying the EC should be given absolutely a free hand to conduct the elections so that the results declared by the commission would be accepted by all.
Mr John Mbiniih of the DFP said their party since the start of the electioneering had always preached peace and therefore called on all political parties to impress on the youth to denounce violence before, during and after the elections.
A representative of the Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mr Seth Charles Oteng, pledged the readiness of the security agencies to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections come December 7. He also assured the public of its vigilance adding that the police would deal ruthlessly with those bent on fomenting trouble on the voting day.
Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi, the President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs and Omanhene of Kukuom Traditional Area, and Mr Ferdinand Obeng, Vice Chairman of the Regional Peace Advisory Council who co-chaired the function reiterated the call on the EC to do all it could to conduct transparent, free and fair elections in order to preserve the integrity of the electoral process.