The Pru West district office of the National Commission For Civic Education NCCE with support from the National Security Ministry has met members of the Inter Party Dialogue Committee in the district to deliberate on issues affecting national cohesion and inclusive participation in governance.
The meeting under the theme: Empowering Ghanaians to stand for National Cohesion and Inclusive Participation forms part of the NCCE and Ministry of National Security sensitization campaign on Peace Building and Community Based Mechanism for Countering Violent Extremism.
Welcoming participants, Mr. Frederick Tabiri Anning, the officer-in-charge of the Pru West NCCE said the high level of insecurity in the district especially the rampant spate of armed robberies and murders calls for the equipping of all stakeholders with relevant information on how they can play their roles effectively in helping achieve the goals of the campaign. This he said can be achieved by avoiding lawlessness whiles ensuring that perpetrators of acts that threaten the peace and security in the district are reported to the relevant authorities.
He opined that tolerance of divergent views, respecting the rights of others, inclusive participation in decision making are some of the factors necessary for peaceful co-existence and development.
Speaking on the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act, the Bono East regional director of the Commission Mr. Joseph Kwaku Yeboah indicated that severe punishments ranging from 10-25 years imprisonment depending on the particular offence awaits violators of the law.
He touched on the specific offences as including: formation, promotion, financing, aiding and abetting vigilantism activities adding that even failure to report the involvement of others in the act constitutes an offence.
On conflict resolution mechanisms, the regional director noted that conflicts are part of the daily lives of people which underscores the importance of creating awareness on the requisite tools for resolution without recourse to violence. He highlighted the main components of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) stressing its advantages as being efficient, less costly, less time consuming and hence the need for the public to consider exploring it in the settlement of disputes.
During a presentation on the Secessionist Movement in Ghana (Western Togoland) Mr. Yeboah, recounted the history of secessionist groups in Ghana. He debunked their basis for agitation citing the results of the 1956 plebiscite aided by graphic presentations indicating that even some areas under agitation by the Western Togoland group were originally part the then Gold Coast.
He pointed out that conditions that generally drive secessionist attempts such as marginalization, repression, ethnic and religious tensions are not pronounced in Ghana and asked the citizenry to be discerning in order to differentiate between legitimate demands and acts of criminality.
The Yeji Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Godfrey Tetteh Adjirakor taking participants through the National Security Strategy and Countering Violent Extremism admonished community leaders to form neighborhood watch committees who will be charged with increased community surveillance. He noted that the work of such committees will greatly augment the efforts of the police in fighting crime in the district especially when the police-civilian ratio now stands at 1:900.
The Pru West district police commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police Eric Awiadem encouraged members to have confidence in the Police Service and report suspicious characters and criminals especially armed robbers living in the communities to the security agencies. He called on the youth not to allow themselves to be used by self-seeking politicians and extremist groups.
The Okyeame of Prang Traditional Council and Chairman of the IPDC, Nana Kofi Darko appealed to government to establish more centers for the Alternative Dispute Resolution to make it more accessible and affordable. He also called on the Commission to intensify its awareness creation on the ADR as a cost effective and timely mechanism for the resolution of disputes.
Mr. Godfred Amponsah, the Pru West district Electoral Officer noted that elections in the district has been characterized by violence and hence the need for the Commission together with the security agencies to devise a mechanism of holding the various political parties accountable for their actions.
Present were representatives of political parties, traditional authorities, faith based organizations, heads of department, women and youth groups and person’s with disability (PWDs).
In a joint statement, participants reaffirmed their commitment to peace, fight against crime, countering violent extremism and ensuring inclusive participation in local governance for the accelerated development of the district.
PARTICIPANTS AFTER THE MEETING