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Mr. Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), has asked Ghanaians not to get complacent about the country’s reputation in Africa as a beacon of democracy.
He said, “We particularly learnt during the Presidential election of 2008 that election results, if not properly analyzed and handled, could easily cause panic, which could lead to political chaos.
“Though Ghana shines as a good example of democracy on the continent, there are always more lessons to learn from the past.”
Mr. Bombande said this on Friday, at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among stakeholders of the Joint Party Election Results Monitoring (J-Perm) Project, for Ghana’s election 2012 in Accra.
The signatories to the MOU were the National Democratic Congress(NDC), represented by Mr. Kofi Portuphy, a leading member of the party who initialed for the party, while Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party signed for his party.
Initialing for the People’s National Convention (PNC) was Mr. Bernard Mornah, General Secretary of the party and the Convention People’s Party represented by Mr. Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, General Secretary.
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) had Mr. Nii Alotey Harmond, General Secretary of the party signing on it’s behalf.
Mr. Bombande said under the MOU, political parties, during the announcement of election results after the December 7 poll, would have first hand access to the results at both the provisional and certified levels, from a database.
He said any disagreements on the results would be handled in a manner that would ensure that peace and order are maintained.
“It would be guided by goodwill and peace. For example, what what would the parties be communicating to their supporters? what would be their commitment to peace? among other things”, Mr Bombande stated.
Mr. Bombande urged political leaders to exhibit strong leadership qualities during the election by remaining calm and assuring their followers that there was no need to panic, even in the face of discomfort.
“No matter what the situation might be, if the political leaders are calm and endeavor to make peaceful and encouraging remarks, that would influence the rest of the populace to comport themselves well, which would contribute a great deal to peace building.”
The Rev. Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the National Peace Council, said multi-party democracy only represented the different ways in which people sought to contribute towards Ghana’s development, “but the point is Ghana and the well-being of the country’s citizens.”
He said, “If we look at it critically, we are all concerned about Ghana, so why should anyone condone destructive tendencies?”
Rev. Asante said, “let us go ahead with peace initiatives, and Ghana would be rescued.”
Mr. Kamil Kayode Kamaludeen, United Nations Development Program Country Director, said Ghanaians needed to know that they were one people with different perspectives.
“How much we are able to collaborate and accept our differences is what determines weather we are progressive or not.
What needs to be well understood is that Ghana is the goal and not the political parties or anyone”, Mr. Kamaludeen said.
The MOU was a collaboration between the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, (WANEP), the United Nations Development Program and the Catholic University College of Ghana, as well as the various political parties.