Tamale, Nov.13, GNA - Professor John Evans Atta Mills, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Presidential Candidate, on Wednesday called for the separation of the criminal aspect of conflicts from the traditional dimensions in order to deal with such situations effectively.
He said most importantly, the Political Leadership must be seen to be applying adequate measures to deal with people involved in the perpetration of conflict to win the confidence and trust of the people. Prof. Mills was addressing the question as to how a government led by him would resolve the number of conflicts that currently plagued certain parts of the country, during the second and final session of the 2008 Presidential Debate in Tamale.
Presidential Candidates of parties with representation in Parliament took part in the event that was hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), under the theme: "Strengthening The Pillars Of Democracy."
They were Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom of Convention People's Party (CPP) and Dr Edward Mahama of People's National Convention (PNC).
Prof. Mills said: "Perception is very important. When you give people a reason to believe that those at the helm are not demonstrating enough commitment in their efforts to deal with criminals involved in violent conflicts, it will be difficult to achieve peace." He said that for a Leader to be seen as a peacemaker, he or she must be seen as impartial or trustworthy.
Prof. Mills noted that chieftaincy disputes constituted one of the major sources of conflicts in the country.
He said that since the 1992 Constitution prohibited Government from interfering in chieftaincy affairs, an NDC Government led by him would entrust the responsibility to the appropriate authorities to handle such matters.
Prof. Mills said: "Most importantly, I will ensure that those involved in stirring up conflicts faced the full rigours of the law without any discrimination."
On tackling corruption, the NDC Presidential Candidate said when voted into office, his administration would apply what he termed leadership by example, adding that in addition to declaring their assets, members of his Government, who were proven to be corrupt, would be made to face the full rigours of the law.
Prof. Mills said the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and other State institutions mandated to deal with corruption would also be well resourced to enable them to discharge their mandate satisfactorily.
On bridging the development gap between the Northern and Southern sectors of the country, Prof Mills said he would target educational development and the improvement of social infrastructure, among other things.
"I will make schools in the North to receive their grants regularly; find lasting solutions to the problems confronting the University for Development Studies (UDS); extend electricity and water to all the rural communities and open up the North for investment," he said.
On the question of whether there was the need to amend the 1992 Constitution after 16 years of democratic rule, Prof. Mills said he would open a national debate on proposals for amending certain parts. Areas to be involved include a ceiling to the number of Supreme Court Judges; whether to maintain the Office of Vice President or change it to the position of a Prime Minister; whether Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives should be elected or appointed and the requirement of appointing Members of Parliament as Ministers.
On measures to deepen Ghana's decentralisation system, Prof. Mills said getting qualified personnel to man the various district assemblies; making the assemblies accountable to the people regularly and giving the assemblies the requisite resources to operate efficiently were issues that he would consider implementing if he were given the mandate by the people of Ghana in Election 2008. 13 Nov. 08
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