New Patriotic Party (NPP), Chairman, Mr Peter Mac Manu, has proposed a meeting between him and his counterpart in the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Dr Kwabena Adjei, to facilitate efforts at ensuring peaceful elections on December 7.
He asked for the proposed interaction to be held under the aegis of the National Peace Council (NPC) and the Electoral Commission (EC), proposing further that it should be extended to others who would send positive and encouraging signals to all members and followers, about the need for peaceful activities before, during and after the December 7 polls.
But the NDC has described the gesture as a mere political gimmick lacking sincerity.
In the letter, the NPP Chairman said, “This is my first letter to you since both of us assumed office. It is an indication of the importance I attach to the subject matter.”
“Let us fashion out an action plan and commit ourselves to it for peace and for the sake of Mother Ghana. Be assured that I extend this invitation sincerely and hope you will respond in the same spirit for the sake of our dear country,” he said.
According to the NPP Chairman, the failure of the two major political parties in Ghana to ensure that the December elections were free, fair and transparent would deal a tremendous blow to the democratisation process championed by Ghana on the African continent.
“Nobody can be in any doubt that 50 years after Ghana led the political emancipation of Africa, our country continues to be the lodestar of the continent. Only recently, the Chairman of the Nigerian Federal Electoral Commission was categorical that our elections, scheduled for December 7, 2008, should be regarded as continental elections because their success will encourage other African countries to follow our example,” he said.
Mr Mac Manu drew Dr Adjei's attention to the recent conflicts in the northern belt of the country, specifically in Tamale and Gushiegu, describing such conflicts as unnecessary and which, in his view, should not become part of the country's election culture.
The NPP chairman said it was his belief that in the supreme interest of the country, such unhealthy developments should not recur anywhere.
“You and I, as the heads of the two largest political parties, carry the special responsibility to ensure that peace prevails before, during and after the elections,” Mr Mac Manu said.
Reacting to the proposal, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) described Mr Mac Manu's proposal as a smokescreen behind which the NPP wishes to hide “the criminals who perpetrated the political mayhem at Tamale and Gushiegu”.
General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketsia said the proposal smacked of insincerity on the part of the NPP government which had failed to bring to prosecution culprits who were identified for being responsible for the recent clashes in Tamale and Gushiegu.
Mr Asiedu-Nketsia stated categorically that the NDC was not interested in the proposed meeting since it considered it as an attempt by the NPP government to throw dust into the eyes of the public.
“What the broad masses of the people in the northern belt and the NDC are concerned about is for the government to bring to book the perpetrators of those heinous crimes which cost property and lives in Tamale and Gushiegu,” he said.
The NDC General Secretary said Mr Mac Manu was fully aware that the trouble makers in the two cases had been identified and as the party in power, he can suggest to the government to cause their prosecution.
“I clearly view this situation as a clear case of injustice which has been meted to those who suffered at the hands of the perpetrators of the crimes. Mr Mac Manu should should give us a break,” Mr Asiedu-Nketsia said.
Story: Kweku Tsen