The National Commission on Civic Education has made a passionate appeal to all political parties in the country not to announce the results of the 2008 general election to avoid any conflicts.
It said, as per the constitution of the state, it was the prerogative of one person, the Commissioner of the Electoral Commission (EC), to make any such announcement, and asked all the parties to strictly respect that.
The Chairman of the NCCE, Mr Laary Bimi, made the appeal at a news conference in Accra to advise all stakeholders, including political parties, religious bodies and traditional rulers on what to do or otherwise to ensure a peaceful election.
Without mentioning names, he said, “It happened in the last general election but it should not be repeated this time round for the sake of peace.”
Mr Bimi argued that should a political party announce the results only for another party to do same, Ghanaians could imagine what calamity may befall the country and reiterated that in the interest of peace and stability, the constitutional provision which mandated the EC Commissioner to do so should be fully respected.
The appeal of the NCCE chairman comes at the heels of concerns raised by the Flag bearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor John Evans Atta Mills, who earlier in the week, raised similar concerns about a party announcing the results of a general election before the EC, and noted that such a practice could be a recipe for disaster.
The good old professor cited the case when the former Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, called the results of the 2004 presidential elections before the constitutionally mandated body, the EC, could so do.
Meanwhile, Mr Bimi made it clear that to avoid the temptation of any party announcing the results, the onus lied on the EC to ensure that the results were announced on time to defuse any tension.
“The commission is aware of the anxiety of the participating political parties after the voting to know their positions, but we need to be patient to allow the EC to do its work to avoid a repetition of the Kenyan situation,” he added.
On promises made by political candidates during electioneering campaigns, the NCCE chairman again cautioned against such practice.
“Many a time, they go to promise and when they get to the top, they find it difficult to honour their pledges to the people, and that brings about problems, which sometimes end in conflicts,” he said.
On the participation of chiefs in active politics, Mr Bimi said as chiefs, the commission expected them to be responsible enough to abide by the law, stressing that as traditional rulers, their word wielded a lot of power, and noted that concentrating on their duties as chiefs would better serve the interest of their people and the state.
The NCCE chairman also noted that it was important for the state to provide security for all the presidential candidates of the various political parties.
“Each of them should be given the same number of bodyguards, the same number of motorcades and any other security protection; There must be equity; none should have more than the other,” he added.
Story by Charles Benoni Okine