NDC will accept results if… - Baba Jamal
Contrary to wide speculations that the largest minority party in the country, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) would not accept the outcome of the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, the party says it would respect the outcome of the elections based on certain conditions.
Speaking at a day's workshop in Accra, under the theme 'media practice in Ghana and efforts towards peaceful and non-violent elections in 2008', the Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mohammed Baba Jamal indicated that the only condition on which the party would accept the outcome of the elections would be when it is organized in a free and fair atmosphere.
"We are prepared to accept the results as far as they are free and fair", he emphasised.
He has therefore called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure that nothing contrary to that happens, since it could lead to a dispute of the election results. Should any rigging occur, NDC he noted, would have no other option but to resort to all constitutional and legal means to protest the outcome of the results.
Baba has thus asked the international community and all other stakeholders to take keen interest in the upcoming elections, taking into consideration its crucial nature.
That notwithstanding, he pledged his party's unflinching support to ensure a peaceful electioneering process before, during and after the declaration of the election results.
Organised by the 'Public Agenda' newspaper, the workshop sought to equip journalists with further perspectives on the issues pertaining to conflict prevention and conflict management in the country.
On his part, a representative of the People's National Convention (PNC), Henry Asante, pledged his party's commitment to monitor all proceedings during the elections and to send its representatives to monitor the electoral procedures to avoid creating doubts in the end.
"We will also commit ourselves to peace by putting a stop to all formal campaigns and abiding by the laws and regulations of the EC regarding elections", he stressed.
That notwithstanding, he said the PNC will accept the results in good faith whether it loses or wins, provided it is free and fair.
Even if the elections are not free and fair, he stated that his party would devise genuine means of getting the right thing done by exploring all legal avenues without violence.'
In this regard, the PNC has promised to educate its supporters to accept the outcome in good faith by allowing their grievances to be taken up by the party to ensure peace, stability and unity after the 2008 general elections.
Whilst calling on the EC to do whatever is possible to minimise errors and live up to expectation, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Dr Nii Moi Thompson also asked journalists to be circumspect with their reportage.
Considering the delicate nature of the upcoming elections, he charged journalists to modulate and decipher what people, especially politicians say before putting them in the public domain.
He also cautioned journalists against calling the elections before the EC, since according to him, it could be a recipe for disaster.
The Facilitator of the workshop and Executive Director of the West African Network for Peace (WANEP), Emmanuel Bombande said "it is in the interest of the media for Ghana to be peaceful" since according to him, "we can't afford to plunge the nation into chaos."
This, he said was because, the acts of commission and omission of journalists has the tendency of determining the fate of the country.
He therefore appealed to the conscience of journalists to do whatever it takes to sustain the relative peace Ghanaians are enjoying.
Present was Dr. Kojo Yankah, Board Chairman of the 'Public Agenda' newspaper, whilst the man whose virtues had earned him a place in the National Peace Council (NPC), Professor Kofi Agyekum, popularly referred to as Opanin Agyekum of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Ghana, Legon, had the honour to Chair the occasion with his lofty thoughts.
The media has an inalienable role to play in society. This role becomes more vigorous in democracies, young as Ghana's. However, the ability to provide information and at the same time act as key role players in democracy is stretched to the limit with regional and national dynamics peculiar to Africa.
While a considerable amount of analysis has focused on the media's potential to support democratic efforts and building sustainable peace, no similar effort has been given to analyse the role the media can play in conflict prevention, neither has the media's capacity to incite conflict been sufficiently analysed and the lessons learned.
It was in this regard that 'Public Agenda', with the support of the United States Embassy in Ghana organised the programme as the first of series of trainings that would be carried out before the 2008 elections.