The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has started engaging the political parties towards ensuring that Election 2016 is conducted on a free, fair, and transparent grounds to sustain the national peace and facilitate socio-economic progress.
In line with this, the NCCE engaged the National Executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to begin the series meant to engage all registered political parties and stakeholders to elicit their input into the Commission’s programmes.
Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the Party’s General Secretary, who led the delegation to the meeting, urged the NCCE to assert its role as a State institution mandated to organise civic education on the provisions of the Constitution, especially, in an election era to reduce the incidence of spoilt ballots.
The delegation included Mr Kofi Attor, the International Relations Director, Mr Ofosu Ampofo, the Director of Elections and other Executives.
“The NCCE should not create space to allow civil society organisations to usurp its function,” Mr Asiedu Nketiah said.
He said NDC said civil society’s work in civic education could only be supplementary to that of the NCCE and not the other way round.
The NDC urged Ghana’s development partners who were interested in supporting the country’s elections to direct their funding to the NCCE instead of civil society organisations who were not accountable to anybody in Ghana, not even to Parliament.
Mr. Samuel Asare Akuamoah, the Acting NCCE Chairman, who led the NCCE delegation, explained that the NCCE’s engagement with political parties sought to create a platform for an in-depth research to identify issues that affected the well-being of the citizenry.
“That can be factored into the activities of the NCCE towards promoting good citizenship,” he said.
“The youth and women’s groups form the core segment of the NCCE’s education programme as a conduit to engender peace before, during and after elections,”
Ms Josephine Nkrumah, the Deputy Chairman responsible for Finance and Administration, Mrs. Joyce Afutu, the Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs and Mr Johnson Opoku, Director of Programme, were the other members of the delegation.
Mr Akuamoah said the Commission had rolled out a month-long nationwide series of activities to mark the 2016 National Constitution Week on the theme; “My Ghana: The Power of One”.
Mr Akuamoah, said the engagement with the political parties was also to share with them the need to rekindle the tenets of the 1992 Constitution in their supporters, with emphasis on the ‘acceptance of personal responsibility’ and ‘personal ownership of Ghana’.
He said the NCCE sought to use the celebration as a platform to ensure that the Constitution continued to be ‘a living document embossed on the minds and hearts of the people for the attainment of democracy and good governance in Ghana.’
In 2001, a tradition was instituted to dedicate a period to draw general attention to the Constitution annually. April 28 to May 4, was slated.
The aims of the celebration are to emphasise that the Constitution is the basis for Ghana’s great heritage and the foundation for the way of life; citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution; preserving it for posterity; and encouraging the study of the Constitution.
Mr Akuamoah said: “Ghanaians need to develop the culture of democracy, the courage to resist violation of their human rights and the tenacity to resist dictatorship of all forms and, more particularly, and fundamentally, any overthrow or attempted overthrow of a government”.
He stated that the Constitution stood as a testament to the tenacity of Ghanaians throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure that the inalienable rights to every citizen were respected.
The NCCE Deputy Chairman stated, “As the country goes into the general elections, Ghanaians need to uphold the spirit of tolerance, national unity, peace, cohesion, and patriotism as guiding values for national development.
“It is important that we tolerate one another, and uphold peace. We urge the youth to eschew violence before, during, and after the upcoming elections.
“The Commission reminds Ghanaians that the 1992 Constitution, Article 35(6a) urges us to “foster a spirit of loyalty to Ghana that overrides sectional, ethnic and other loyalties”.
Mr Akuamoah said the NCCE had always maintained that civic education was a shared responsibility, accordingly, the Commission was urging all stakeholders – the religious leaders, traditional authorities, Political Parties, Professional Associations, Civil Society Organisations, the Media, Youth groups and Women Associations – to use their platforms to preach and discuss peace, national unity, and tolerance among the people.
“As Ghanaians, we should know that the consequences of political and religious intolerance are dire,” he said.
“Conflicts bring untold hardships, violence, displacement of citizens and wanton destruction of lives and property to the people.
“The NCCE, therefore, entreats all Ghanaians to act peacefully and guard against the occurrence of violence of any form and shape so as to avoid the sort of untold hardships”.