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Political parties asked to stop mobilising on ethnic, religious lines

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Ghana political-parties-Dr Seidu Alidu, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science of University of Ghana, has expressed worry about the mobilisation of supporters along ethnic, religious and regional lines by some political parties.

He said the trend was dangerous and had the tendency of reducing elections to conflict fault lines, explaining that, political parties must rather drive people based on their ideas and philosophies.

Dr Alidu was speaking on the topic: “Media Engagement on the Use of Peaceful Messages” at a workshop for media practitioners and journalists in the Central Region.

The workshop, organised by the National Media Commission (NMC) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), was aimed at educating media practitioners on the use of peaceful messages in 2016 general election.

He said people tended to be very sentimental on issues relating to ethnicity and cautioned that the continuous exploitation of political parties on these lines could cause a degeneration of a partisan conflict along ethnic, religious and regional lines.

He said ethnic and religious mobilisation could be useful for development, however, when it was used to sow seeds of discord, it undermined the political dispensation of a country whose democracy was fragile.

Dr Alidu said Ghana was not enjoying an absolute peace and warned that the relative peace in Ghana had the tendency of sliding into chaos if peace efforts were taken for granted.

He said it would be erroneous for anyone to think that Ghana could not go to war because the country was relatively peaceful and cited many pre-elections violence and other incidence of low level scale conflicts in the country to buttress his claim.

He condemned the utter bastardisation of the EC and other state institutions by some section of the public warning that could be a recipe for chaos.

He noted that public comments about these organisations might dampen “spirits”, something he said, the country needed to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.

Dr Alidu said it was rather imperative Ghanaians vested their confidence in those institutions to consolidate the political dispensation of the country.

He expressed worry that the EC enjoyed less space and attention compared to political parties, saying that it was not helping in the proper education of the electorate who needed such information to be able to exercise their voting rights.

Dr Alidu urged journalists to develop their knowledge and capacity on election issues such that they could effectively educate the public and professionally engage people during political discussions on radio.

He said the role of the media in ensuring a successful election in 2016 was crucial and appealed to journalists to critically scrutinise the content of what that they put into the public domain.

Journalists, he said, must be tolerant of people’s views and do their work in the interest of the public.

Source: GNA

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