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15.07.2008 Politics

COUNTDOWN TO ELECTION 2008

By newtimesonline.com
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The countdown to the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections has begun in earnest.

It is barely five months away and the political thermometer is already recording very high figures of heat.

All that this nation is hoping for is healthy rivalry, among the contestants without rancour and bitterness. It is the wish of every Ghanaian that the political party that best represents their hopes and aspirations occupies the Flagstaff House and gets the majority in Parliament to carry out its programmes.

The exercise, though, will test all agents connected with the elections to the letter. The Electoral Commission, National Commission for Civic Education, the security agencies and the various political parties are all expected to play their respective roles to ensure that this crucial election is free from violence.

The EC, for instance, is expected to put its house in order by compiling a credible voters register that will be accepted by all the contesting parties to ensure free and fair election.

The NCCE must in turn intensify its civic duties by educating political parties and their followers to refrain from the politics of insults and character assassination and instead base their political campaigns on issues to win the confidence of the electorate.

It is also important for political parties to abide by the rules of the game. After all, an election is not a declaration of war. It is only an exercise in healthy rivalry among contesting sets of ideas.

The Times is also gratified by the announcement by the National Security Coordinator, Dr Sam Amoo, that 36,000 security personnel are to be deployed to maintain law and order during the polls. They will be backed by 4,000 military personnel who will be on stand-by in the unlikely event of any acts of violence during the election.

Dr Amoo, disclosed this at a three-day capacity building workshop for senior officers of the National Security Council and the National Disaster Management Organisation at Elmina in the Central Region last weekend.

The Times urges the various political parties to be mindful of the Public Order Act as they intensify their campaigns through the nooks and corners of the country to win the mandate of the electorate and also to abide by the Code of Conduct which they themselves agreed upon at the Inter-Party Advisory Committee meeting.

The average Ghanaian is also expected to comport himself or herself throughout the period of the campaign. It is important to note that elections are not a matter of life and death. They are exercises conducted so that the nation can entrust itself to the kind of leaders who in the opinion of the electorate, best represent their views on how affairs of state should be conducted.

We do not believe that the election result will be the end of the world for anybody.

In any contest there are winners and losers and so will it be with the December contest. Threats have never solved any problem. That is why it is in the interest of those who are beating the war drums to rather put their energies into peace-building which is in everybody's interest and benefit..

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