The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) is calling all political party leaders whether qualified to contest in the December 7 General Elections or disqualified to contest to put Ghana first.
This call particularly targets the two main political party leaders National Democratic Congress (NDC) and New Patriotic Party (NPP).
We also urge them to refrain from violence through their cadres but rather adopt peaceful means to address issues of conflict that may arise before, during, and after the elections.
The Foundation's call is in connection with the recent violent activities that have marred electoral processes in the recent past: the shooting incident in Kasoa; the beating of Electoral Commission officials in the recent voter registration exercise and comments such as the “boot for boot”, the clash of party supporters in the Odododiodio Constituency just to mention a few.
These violent activities are clear indications that party leaders may not have Ghana at first but rather their parochial interest and that of their parties.
We call on Political Party Leaders to lead by example in safeguarding the peace Ghana is going through as we head into the Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 5 days’ time. Leading by example to put Ghana first ahead of the elections is not limited to doing the following;
1.The most important and critical step to put Ghana first is to disband their cadres i.e Vigilante Groups if not yet disbanded. Vigilantism has not added well to Ghana but rather grief, harm and damage, and worst of all death.
Political parties must take steps in the 5 days left for the elections to disband their vigilante groups since their existence is against the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, 2019 (Act, 999). These groups are not limited to the twenty-seven (27) groups listed in the second schedule of Act 999.
2.Refrain from spreading hate speech; fake news and insults that engender violence to peaceful messages and contest of ideas that promote dialogue.
3.Support the campaign for a zero-tolerance against electoral violence. This seeks to use ballots and not bullets in the elections; peace and not violence and reporting violent incidents to the security agency. This could be the message of peace that is disseminated from the camp of political parties to their supporter in particular and Ghanaians in general.
Even though, FOSDA agrees that most of the drivers of electoral violence are structural and need long term measures to address them, such as unemployment. It is of utmost importance that in the short to medium term as we have now we better promote peace for our own good.
FOSDA asks Political Parties to conduct themselves peacefully and work with the security agencies to promote peace before, during, and after the upcoming elections.
We all have a responsibility to safeguard the peace of Ghana but our leaders must lead by example. Let us shape it together. Let us adopt a zero-tolerance for electoral violence.