Political Parties in the Ashanti Region have pledged their commitment to an Inter-Party Dialogue Committee (IPDC), commissioned to flag and deal with potential and evident political conflicts in the run-up to the 2020 electioneering period.
The Mediation Committee spearheaded by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) will be constituted by Opinion Leaders, representatives of all political parties; religious leaders; traditional authorities and members drawn from the security services.
The committee will also be populated by Civil Society Groups and Independent state bodies like the National Media Commission; the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Peace Council (NPC).
Its mandate will be to forestall pockets of political and electoral violence that could result in the loss of lives and property and to deliberate on issues that should pertain to the peaceful conduct of the 2020 political activities and national elections.
The IPDC is also tasked to check and investigate abuses perpetrated by political party actors; to pick up early warning signals of political violence and to offer training for political parties on peacebuilding.
The group will be deeply involved in monitoring the airwaves for Sensationalism, falsehood and unprofessional journalism that fuels political violence.
Another leg of its terms of reference will be to state the position of the IPDC on critical matters through media and press conferences with active participation in community-led activities that will reinforce the concept of peaceful coexistence in the country.
The Inter-Party Dialogue Committee will also be working with the Electoral Commission and the law enforcement agencies to enforce the Political Parties Code of ethics which bars defacing of campaign posters; Abuse of incumbency; Vote rigging; snatching and destruction of electoral materials.
Speaking to Ultimate News after the commissioning of the committee, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the National Democratic Congress Kwame Zu hailed the establishment of the platform but warned its leadership against any political bias that could prejudice its operations.
The party scribe intimated, “The National Democratic Congress has indicated that as a political party, we do not promote, fund nor sanction any group that purports to be working for the NDC to foment trouble and we have charged the police that anybody like that should be arrested and subsequently prosecuted and that is ample demonstration to peace and unity.”
“Be that as it may, we are only pleading with the NCCE which has always been a neutral arbiter to continue to do the needful and be as neutral as practicable,” Kwame Zu instructed.
The New Patriotic Party which was represented by the party’s Regional Treasurer Hajia Zainab pledged that the party will be committed to deploying every resource it can marshal to help the committee reach out to political hot spots especially in the Zango communities.
She assured, “I am a Zango person and we know where we have the hot spots in terms of elections and the NPP is putting in all our resources, to make sure that come 2020 there is not going to be violence.”
The regional committee which is being funded by the UNDP is expected to establish Inter-Party Dialogue Committees in all 43 districts and is billed to meet monthly with provision for extraordinary meetings.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the NCCE, Raphael Wilson Arthur outlined that his office is creating a reporting platform which will collate monitoring reports from all districts for consideration and prompt action.
The representative of the Offinso Traditional Council, Nana Yaw Kwabea Amanfi, however, called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and corporate bodies, to support the NCCE which has only three vehicles and a few resources to lead the Dialogue Committees.