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03.10.2008 Politics

Forum to discuss elections in America and Ghana held


Stakeholders in the country's electoral system must continue to play leading roles to help build public confidence in the Electoral Commission (EC), the judiciary and other key institutions as a means to ease tension and avoid political violence.

Leaders of political parties and their activists must also display, through their actions and utterances on campaign platforms and other forums, acts that do not portray their opponents as t enemies.

These were among recommendations at a forum attended by leaders of political parties and opinion leaders in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis at Takoradi on Thursday.

It was organised by the United States Embassy in Ghana in collaboration with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

Professor David Ian Lublin, a representative of the Democratic Party and Ms Roselyn O'Connell of the Republican Party led the discussions.

They were supported by Mr. Ekow Amua-Sekyi, a lawyer and Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Omanhene of Essikado who also presided.

The Ghanaian and US electoral processes, the mode of campaigning, the Electoral College systems, funding of political parties, level of women's involvement in politics and leadership roles and electoral disputes resolution in America and Ghana were among some of the topics discussed.

Ms O'Connell said women in the US had made some progress on the political scene and more effort was needed to get more women into high political positions in that country.

She said by choosing a woman as his running mate in the November election Mr John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, demonstrated his political shrewdness.

She spoke about the need for men to support and encourage women politicians by helping to raise funds to execute their campaign programmes.

Mr. Amua-Sekyi spoke against state funding for political parties and said this would be “inappropriate and waste of taxpayers' money”.

The Right Reverend Martin Darko, Catholic Bishop of the Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, said the Church had been effectively involved in all national affairs to ensure good governance, prosperity, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Nana Kobina Nketsia said in order to achieve peace, Ghana had to learn more from the weaknesses of the US electoral system because though there were worse incidents of vote rigging, political leaders had managed to hold the nation together peacefully.