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23.04.2008 General News

PROBE THEIR BACKGROUNDS - NCCE Tells Media

By Kwadwo B. Donkor - newtimesonline.com

THE Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Larry Bimi, has asked the media to be more probing of public figures, particularly politicians who want to assume leadership roles in the country.

'Rake out the bones from the cupboards of the people who want to be leaders of this country,' he challenged the media at the launch of the 8th Annual National Constitution Week in Accra, yesterday.

Mr Bimi said: 'The press must be both the ugly and the beautiful; it is they who must talk to people in power and defend the powerless'.

The theme for this year’s celebration which starts on Monday, April 28, is : 'The Sovereign Will of the People and Election 2008', during which the commission will hold public lectures and forums to educate the public on the election process.

Mr Bimi said that every person offering himself or herself for election, should be examined critically. Not only would that strengthen the democratic process, it would also ensure that the right people are elected to steer the affairs of the country.

The media must therefore bring out the best in their arsenals, and endeavour 'to be ears of the deaf, the mouth of the dumb and the eyes of the blind,' he added

He also urged the Electoral Commission (EC) to 'individually and collectively, be fair and independent arbitrators', adding, 'They must be fearless of any man or institution and their conscience and God should be their guide.'

Bringing the celebration into perspective, deputy chairperson of the commission, Mrs Augustina Akumanyi, said it is important to constantly remind Ghanaians of the birth of the constitution which was adopted through a referendum on April 28, 1992. 'It will be right for the NCCE, to state that as we have been mandated to educate the people of Ghana on the contents of the constitution, we are in the best position to remind our people of the sacredness of the 1992 Constitution,' she stated.

Mr Kwaku Baa Owusu, Director of Public Education, said the focus of the celebration will be on political parties, youth activists and students in tertiary institutions, political party policy makers, traditional authorities, women, the media and religious leaders.

He said the commission selected particularly youth activists to be part of the interaction because 'they are a very dynamic and militant group and are susceptible to political intrigue and manipulation.'

A representative of the EC, Nana Karikari, said elections are not a one-off event but a process that should be followed instead of just focusing attention on the election day.

From the opening of the voters register to the election and the declaration of the result, there is the need for all stakeholders to be vigilant in the process, he added.

Activities to mark the celebration, organised in collaboration with the University of Education, Winneba include a public forum on tolerance for peaceful election, a lecture on the main theme for the celebration, radio talk shows, forum for the security agencies and reading of NCCE circulars in all religious worship centres.

There will also be a national Constitution game competition among 11 senior high schools selected from all the regions of the country including the defending champions, Anlo Secondary School in the Volta Region.

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