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Moderate risk of violence for Ghana’s 2012 general election – Report

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A West Africa Conflict Assessment (WACA) on Ghana has revealed that Election 2012 present a window of vulnerability of the peace and stability that could lead to sporadic and localized violence.

This was made known in the assessment report presented at a day’s stakeholders’ roundtable organized by the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP) in Accra on Monday.

It was to review and discuss the preliminary findings of a conflict assessment conducted in Ghana with the financial support of USAID, West Africa under the Early Warning and Response Design Support (EDWARDS) project.

The assessment was based on five themes, Chieftaincy and Land, Natural Resources (oil), Elections, Agro-Pastoral Conflict and Break-up or Division of the Northern Region into two.

It was conducted in three regions, Greater Accra, Northern and Western regions.

The assessment established that the likelihood of a major, widespread violent conflict at the national level in Ghana is significantly low in view of the increasingly strong institutions, and coupled with the fact that there were no widespread underlying grievances uniting large sectors of the population that can be easily mobilised for armed conflict.

“The incentives for peace appear to outweigh the incentives for conflict. Nonetheless, politics of patronage and corrupt practices of politicians make competitive elections a cause for concern,” WACA added.

Mr Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director of WANEP addressing the opening session called for collaboration among all stakeholders and institutions in Ghana to sustain the prevailing peace in the run-up to election 2012.

He expressed appreciation for the hard work of the personnel involved in conducting the assessment.

Ms Lisa Franchett, Deputy Mission Director of USAID/West Africa commended Ghana for making great strides towards peace and stability.

She was optimistic that the recommendation made in the assessment on Ghana would be implemented to maintain the existing stability to the run-up to Election 2012 and beyond.

Mr Robert Groelsema, Team leader of EDWARDS Project said it was a 28 month-long project that reinforced regional efforts to develop and strengthen a conflict early warning system for West Africa.

He explained that under the project, key partners such as ECOWAS and WANEP had been assisted to prevent, contain and transform violent conflicts in the region.

Mr Groelsema noted that the project reflected a growing concern over the destablising effects of violent conflict, and the need to establish timely and effective conflict prevention mechanisms and response actions.

He announced that since its establishment in 2006, personnel from about 25 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) had been trained in conflict prevention mechanisms in the region.

Source: GNA

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