Mr. Michael Amponsah, Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of the National Commission on Civic Education, has said “it is the responsibility of all Ghanaians to ensure that conditions for violence are completely removed from our socio-political life”.
In a presentation at a workshop for queen mothers, women leaders and women party activists on peaceful election, he said it was far better to prevent rather than manage violence.
“As a people we need to develop a culture that has strong foundations in tolerance since once violence is started it will not be easy to calculate where and how it will end”, he said.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs and sponsored by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German NGO.
Mr. Amponsah urged all citizens to continuously aspire to reduce the level of ignorance of democracy and democratic principles and practice.
“We must increase our knowledge of the law and the Constitution which regulate our lives and relationships.”
He said Ghanaians need to live beyond the fundamentalist approach to politics “where everything about us and our political persuasion is right and everything of the others is bad”.
“People must learn to respect divergent opinions especially of others who do not share our political philosophy”, Mr. Amponsah said, emphasizing that the constant call for peace before, during and after elections should remind people how political parties and other stakeholders must conduct themselves diligently.
The said the country could only prosper in an atmosphere of peace and stability, which could be attained where everyone would feel respected and involved in taking decisions that affected them.
“In democracy we should treat others as you would like them to treat you”, he stated and urged Ghanaians to be tolerant and have a fair, objective and respectful attitude towards those with different opinions and practices or belong to another religion, nationality, race, group and political party.
Mr. Amponsah suggested to traditional councils to obtain copies of the constitution to enable members to become conversant with the contents or provisions for peace and stability in their areas.
He appealed to traditional leaders and parents to educate the youth and children against violent acts.
Mr. Isaac Owusu-Mensah, programme manager of KAS, said queen mothers had enormous contributions to make to achieve sustainable development in Ghana.
“As Ghana strives towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, it is imperative for our traditional women leaders to position themselves to make the appropriate contributions towards this process”, he stressed.
He expressed the hope that the queen mothers would use the knowledge they would acquire at the workshop to promote peaceful elections in their communities.
Madam Victoria Owusu Kyeremaa, regional director, Department of Women, appealed to Ghanaians to assist especially pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, the aged and persons with disability and other vulnerable groups to participate fully in the electoral process.
She explained that forums such as the workshop sought to encourage and strengthen women to become active participants in national affairs, especially in the electioneering process.
“Women are encouraged and indeed called upon to take part in all the activities involved in these elections so as to ensure truth, decency and peace in the country”, Madam Kyeremaa said.
In an open forum, Nana Yaa Nsowaa, queen mother of Drobo in Jaman South District, appealed to FM radio stations to check the use of uncouth language and inflammatory statements made by some callers to their phone-in segment of programmes.
Nana Yaa Adutwumwaa, queen mother of Kenyase Number One, called on District Assemblies to financially support queen mothers in advocacy programmes to further educate the people, especially women, on their civic responsibilities in their traditional areas.