Catholic Bishops support call for biometric verification

The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has added its voice to the call for a verification mechanism in the biometric registration for the 2012 General Election.

This was contained in a communiqué issued by the conference at the end of its five-day Annual Plenary Assembly in Takoradi, and read by the President of the GCBC, Most Reverend Joseph Osei-Bonsu.

“We urge the government and the Electoral Commission (EC) to procure all the equipment necessary to authenticate the identity of voters in 2012 elections.”

The communiqué said, largely the peace in the country depends on transparent elections and therefore entreated all political parties and stakeholders to support the EC to deliver its mandate.

The Bishops commended the government for releasing funds to the EC for the biometric registration and charged the commission to be proactive and accountable to the citizenry.

“We urge the EC to come out clearly to inform Ghanaians what the biometric register is about, how it functions, so we the people of Ghana are able to give our input to enrich the process, “he stated.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference called on the government as a matter of urgency to embark on civic education to dispel the ignorance, not only about biometric system of election, but also about their rights and obligations as citizens.

It appealed to the government to ensure fair and a level playing field before, during and after the elections and refrain from using its incumbency to muzzle the opposition parties to make the outcome of the elections acceptable to all parties involved.

“The environment before elections is critical and must be conducive for free and fair elections. People should be afforded ample time to register and verify their registration as voters at a reasonable pace”, it stressed.

The communiqué said eligible voters should be cautioned against double registration of minors and foreigners, adding that as key stakeholders, political parties should be guided by a high sense of integrity and national pride and so uphold high standard and values that would enhance good governance and democracy.

The Conference asked the political parties to refrain from provocative utterances that could spark chaos and charged them to campaign peacefully and tolerate other people’s views to enhance our democratic credentials.

The Bishops added its voice to the call by Ghanaians for the establishment of a political framework for the efficient management of post election issues and transfer of political power from one administration to another without degenerating into controversies and acrimonies.

“Let us all throw our weight behind the institutions that are making strenuous efforts at making this a reality”, it added.

The Conference noted that, peace is a pre-condition for human development and fulfilment. Good governance is the only platform on which sustainable peace can flourish.

“It is our contention that for this peace to be guaranteed there is the need to safeguard good governance in our country, especially with the 2012 elections,”

The Conference charged politicians to work consciously devoid of deceit, intolerance, bribery and corruption in order to build a mighty nation.

They also charged Ghanaians to be objective and constructive in their criticism and not to be blinded by their political affiliation to have the courage to correct politicians when they go wrong.

Source: GNA

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