They asked the youth in particular to refrain from acts of lawlessness and violence and rather work towards achieving peace at all times.
The event was organised by the Centre for Community Studies, Action and Development (CENCOSAD), in collaboration with Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, both non-governmental organisations, on the theme: “Promoting Health Rights and Accountability in a Peaceful and Fair 2012 Elections,” in Accra on Friday.
The forum was attended by representatives of various political parties, youth groups, civil society and the media.
Nii Ankonu Annorbah-Sarpei, Acting Executive Director, CENCOSAD, said the event preceded a two-year project funded by DFID, DANIDA and European Union that seek at galvanising the citizenry to demand from political parties, political institutions and government, violence-free, transparent, fair and peaceful elections.
He said the project, which would be implemented in selected districts in the Greater Accra, Western and Central regions, would help orient 2,500 youth to promote peaceful and transparent elections in areas like Ashiedu Kete Sub-metro, Juaboso, Agona East District and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem Municipality.
Nii Annorbah-Sarpei said a platform would be created for another 2,500 people from the target assemblies to demand improved maternal and child health services, which includes family planning, emergency obstetric care services from politicians as outlined in political party manifestoes.
He explained that the project would use citizens’ led approach for women, especially pregnant women, who would be oriented and mobilised to participate in street campaigns, to demand peaceful and fair elections and improved health service delivery.
Ms Ophelia Palm, a nurse at the Ussher Polyclinic, Accra, said peace must start in the home where husband, wife and children work towards it, in order to reflect in the entire community and the nation at large.
She said peace in the home, work place, schools and in society enables everybody to unite, work together to keep surroundings clean to avoid diseases like cholera and typhoid thereby promoting the health of the people.
“Peace ensures and promote good mental health, which is needed by all to live and work happily as citizens,” Ms Palm said.
Ms Fuseina Mohammed, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, CENCOSAD, said electoral conflicts must be avoided at all cost since it affects socio-economic and political development.
She also expressed worry during conflicts, the vulnerable, including women and children suffer impoverishment and abuses such as rape, human trafficking, displacement and death.
Ms Cecilia Dam, Civic Education Officer at the National Commission on Civic Education, reminded Ghanaians of their civic responsibilities to promote peace, especially in an election year, and called for tolerance towards the promotion of true democracy.
She said: “The whole world is watching Ghana and we must ensure that we monitor and involve ourselves before, during and the election.”
Deputy Superintendent of Police Edna Kuadey of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Ghana Police Service said the experience of conflicts in other countries was bitter for the citizens.
He therefore, appealed to Ghanaians to avoid negative tendencies that could disturb peace and unity of the country.