Akufo-Addo: Transparency must guide 2008 elections or...
Acceptable results of the 2008 elections must be born out of a transparent, free and fair electoral process which should not be forfeited, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Presidential candidate, said on Saturday.
He said: "2008 is a critical year and we need to work to make sure that the process is transparent so that when the NPP is declared the winner, all and sundry will accept in good faith."
Speaking at the opening of the Conference of the Democratic Union of Africa (DUA) under the auspices of the NPP in Accra, Nana Akufo-Addo said the peace and stability that Ghanaians are enjoying must be protected and sustained to deepen democratic governance.
The conference, the third in the series to be organised by the NPP, is under the theme: "Social Action - Working for your community. Putting Politics into practice" is to promote the participation of women in liberal democracy across Africa.
Nana Akufo-Addo said the country's decision to deepen the culture of good governance left it with no option but to intensify the shift to decentralization in all aspects of government.
"It is through bringing governance to the people that we can meet our responsibilities to them in their everyday affairs."
He said deepening the culture of participatory democracy called for a critical look at the constitutional provisions on election and appointment of local authorities under the District Assembly framework and that once the institutional platform was put in place, the citizen must be the centre of focus.
"The citizens must then take the initiative and have the determination and courage to speak out, to take action at the grassroots and district level...to define priorities for projects and programmes...
"We must shift our thinking from dependency to enterprise. We must not hope for others to take care of us," Nana Akufo-Addo said.
Dwelling on the conference theme, he said to overlook the many critical ways in which women specially were holding up in the world, was to ignore the central place of over 50 percent of the population.
Nana Akufo-Addo said women must take their place at the helm of affairs because that constituted the basis of social transformation.
He said the NPP government in the last seven years had undertaken unprecedented social measures such as the National Health Insurance Scheme and the free compulsory basic education programme that clearly demonstrated the practicality of politics.
Providing insight into the conference, Mr Peter Mac-Manu, the NPP Chairman who is also Chairman of DUA, said it offered the platform to unite all centre and centre-right political parties in Africa.
He said liberal democracy, which is the hallmark of centre rightists, had proved itself all over the world and that NPP was convinced it was the only system of government that would spearhead the African renewal.
Mr Mac-Manu said the NPP believed it was critical to give women hope, raise their expectations, and rekindle their enthusiasm to enhance their role in community politics.
"Our party will continue to give women opportunity to reach for the highest levels of elective and appointive offices because our party's constitution enjoins it, our philosophy and ideology mandate it and our own innate nature impels it," he said.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children Affairs, said one way for women to be encouraged in the party would be to allow women to run parliamentary elections at areas where the NPP considered as safe seats.
She said the issue of HIV/AIDS still remained a challenge so there was the need for leaders to use their political leverage and action to get government involved in a more affirmative action on the virus.
Hajia Mahama said in Ghana and in the world, statistics still showed that female HIV/AIDS victim is higher.