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General News Fri, 12 Sep 2008

Body alarmed at blatant breaches of the political parties code

Accra, Sept.11, GNA - The National Enforcement Body (NEB) of the Political Parties Code of Conduct on Thursday said it was alarmed at the blatant breaches of the code by competing political parties in the run-up to the December polls.

The Rev Dr Fred Deegbe, Chairman of the NEB, told journalists that an analysis of reports it collated from the regions indicated that while Ghana seemed to be peaceful, the keen political competition to win power was heightening tension and fuelling conflicts across the country. "Overall, the body is alarmed at the various breaches of the code by competing political parties," he said.

He recalled some of the incidences that characterised the recent voter registration exercise, saying they constituted blatant breaches of the Political Parties Code of Conduct.

"All the reported cases of clashes between parties, carrying and use of offensive weapons to rallies, non-cooperation with the police, the mutual suspicion arising from the recent voter revision exercise, the use of inflammatory and inciting language, misunderstanding arising from the clash of dates and venues of political rallies, the defacing of posters and paraphernalia are all blatant breaches of the code," he said.

Rev. Deebge said NEB was also alarmed with the increasing use of the media, especially the electronic media as a staging post for political battles, and appealed to the media to restrain politicians, social commentators and callers from using defamatory and inflammatory language. "Even if it means the media must put a blackout on some politicians, social commentators and callers it has to do so in the interest of national peace," he said.

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Rev. Deegbe acknowledged the power of the media to make or unmake a nation and called on the practitioners to familiarise themselves with the provisions of the code in order to be able to check politicians who breached them.

He also deplored the use of ethnicity by some political parties to score cheap political points and urged the media to refuse to provide the platform for such characters to carry out their destructive agenda. Rev. Deegbe reminded political parties that the impending election did not mean that all laws governing the state longer existed, saying that the code was nothing more than a collection of national laws, which when breached were punishable.

He said even though the NEB did not have the legal authority to punish politicians who breached the code, the security agencies had a responsibility to bring those who broke the code to book because the code was in consonance with the laws of the land.

Rev. Deegbe urged security agencies themselves to be impartial in handling inter-party disputes and ensure that they acted with the highest standard of professionalism in the performance of their duty. He called on political parties and the media to educate their members and the general populace on the political parties' code and also recommended that the National Media Commission should be more forceful and pro-active in calling errant media houses to order.

Source: GNA
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