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18.11.2008 Elections

Rawlings, NDC set condition for peace

By Ghanaian Times
Rawlings, NDC set condition for peace

Former President Jerry John Rawlings, on Monday said the peace in the country can be sustained only if Ghanaians move into the electoral process with the aim of protecting the integrity of the electoral system.

"I believe Ghanaians would only accept the outcome of the elections if they believe that the system was fair and not skewed against their wishes," he said.

The former President made this observation when members of the National Peace Council, led by Peter Cardinal Appiah- Turkson, Catholic Archbishop of Cape Coast called on him at his residence in Accra to confer with him and to share ideas on issues that needed to be addressed to ensure peace during and after the December general election.

The meeting, the first ever by such a national body tasked to facilitate peace in the country, gave the chance to the former President and some leading members of the National Democratic Congress, to share some of their concerns about issues they considered as threats to the peace and the electoral process.

According to former President Rawlings, stakeholders have taken the upcoming election for granted, partly because Ghanaians have gone to the polls several times, but that should not be so, adding: “national election is something you don't toy with.”

He lauded the Council for its initiative, but wished it had taken place much earlier since, according to him, "there is so much injustice in the country."

He said there has been a deliberate attempt by the government to peddle un¬truths about the NDC, and to give a one-¬sided view about the real economic situ¬ation in the country to the public.

"This does not augur well for peace and stability," he said.

He commended the council for its efforts towards peace and asked the members to remain objective and con¬front the government on the issues raised at the meeting, for them to be prop¬erly addressed to ensure justice.

Justice, he said, was crucial in the democratic process, "because there can be no peace without justice."

Cardinal Appiah Turkson, in explain¬ing the reason for the visit, said the council deemed it important to find out the concerns of the former President whom he described as an "Elder States¬man" on ways of sustaining the peace in the country.

All the leading members of the NDC present at the meeting took turns to share their thoughts with the Council.

They raised several issues in¬cluding alleged use of the security agencies to ha¬rass members of the NDC, unilateral decisions by the Electoral Commission, abuse of incumbency by the NPP, biased media coverage, drug traffick¬ing and alleged manipulation of the Judiciary against the NDC, all of which, they said amounted to injustice and a threat to peace.

Victor Gbeho, former Member of Parliament for Anlo, said development in the Volta Region regarding the relationship between the police and the NDC, brings to question, the neutrality of the police."

Brigadier-General Nunoo Mensah,' a former Chief of Defence Staff, said a recent meeting he and some former security chiefs held with the former President was misconstrued to be a meet¬ing to plot a coup, and a subsequent placing of a ban on them from all military installations, saying it was a clear case of injustice.

He said such injustices should be eradicated from society before there can be any meaningful dialogue about peace.

At his turn, Rear Admiral Owusu-Ansah, de¬scribed the ban on him and others from all military and police establishments as illegal and injustice to them.

Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, the former First Lady, questioned why the religious bodies had kept quiet over.what she termed, blatant abuse of human rights and injustices in the society.

Betty Mould-Iddrissu, a leading member of the NDC urged the council to mainstream gender issues in its peace campaign since women have a critical role in peace building.