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06.05.2008 General News

Towards free and fair electionsPolitical parties call for security task force…to deal with election-related issues

By Charles Takyi-Boadu - Ghanaian Chronicle

For the purpose of election 2008, the various political parties have stressed the need to set up a security task force to deal with all election-related issues in the country.

They have thus called on government to as a matter of urgency consider the proposal.

If approved by government, the security task force is expected to work closely with the Electoral Commission to deal with problems that may arise before, during and after the elections.

This, they believe would make the December 2008 elections free and fair.

This was contained in a joint communiqué signed and issued by representatives of the various political parties after a two-day workshop at the 'Little Acre' Hotel in Aburi, from May 2-4, 2008, to review the 'Political Parties Code of Conduct 2004'.

Organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) under the auspices of the Political Parties Programme and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the forum also discussed pertinent issues towards the 2008 general elections.

Considering the fact that elections provide a test for social cohesion, they noted that all stakeholders must work together towards achieving a peaceful election.

In effect, the parties agreed that the national enforcement body, which was established under the Political Parties Code of Conduct in the year 2004, should be activated and replicated at the regional and district levels.

Further, they stressed the need to also operationalise an inter-party monitoring committee to monitor and report breaches of the code under the national enforcement body.

It was also resolved that political parties and politicians must refrain from making inflammatory statements to avoid stirring up passions and generating disaffection.

That notwithstanding, they called for public institutions especially the law enforcement agencies to be strengthened by way of providing them with equipment, training and adequate funding to enable them discharge their duties effectively and professionally.

In order to effectively discharge its constitutionally mandated duties, the parties have asked government to provide adequate funds to the NCCE to undertake an intensive civic education on the responsibilities of Ghanaians during elections, such as the upcoming one.

They also deem it necessary for the EC to educate the law enforcement agencies about their expected role during the elections.

Further, it was agreed that people in public service who desire to run for political office on the ticket of any political party without being required to resign from office under the constitution, should be able to do so without any fear, threat of victimisation or intimidation.

They have therefore urged the judiciary as an institution to take necessary steps to resolve election-related cases expeditiously whilst calling to an end the use of law enforcement agencies and private security groups to intimidate electoral competitors and the electorate.

Whilst appreciating significant gains made by Ghana in its electoral process, the representatives of the political parties emphasised the need for all stakeholders, especially for them as political parties to ensure that what has been achieved is further deepened.

They have thus decided to work together to build confidence and trust among themselves to serve as the basis to enforce the Political Parties Code of Conduct drafted in the year 2004.

Those who signed the communiqué included the likes of Nana Ohene Ntow and Dr. Kobina Arthur Kennedy for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Kwabena Adjei and Baba Jamal for opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ivor Kobina Greenstreet and Evelyn Lamisi Anabila for the Convention People's Party (CPP) whilst Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan and Abrahams Kabah signed for the People's National Convention.

The rest included Kwaku Baah and Bede Ziedeng for the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Henry Gidi for the EGLE party, Rev. Sampson Sadjie for the United Rennaisance Party (URP), Eric Mensah Sarpong for the Ghana National Party (GNP), Robert Anamu for the United Love Party (ULP), Augustina Akumanyi and Fanny Judith Kumah for the NCCE whilst Brigadier Francis Agyemfra (Rtd) signed for IEA.

Conspicuously missing were Uncle Dan Lartey's Great Consolidate People's Party (GCPP) and the Reformed Democratic Party (RPD).

It is thus not clear whether they were not invited or they missed the boat.

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