The parliamentary candidates of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Odododiodoo Constituency in the Greater Accra Region have pledged to uphold the peace in the ongoing biometric registration exercise and beyond.
Consequently the two, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, a Presidential Aide and parliamentary candidate of the NDC and Captain (retd) Victor Okaikoi, parliamentary candidate of the NPP, agreed to hold a peace march at a date to be agreed upon by the leadership of their parties to impress upon their supporters on the need for co-existence.
The decision was taken at meeting Friday convened by the Greater Accra Regional Police Command to find an amicable solution to the recent disturbances in the Odododiodoo Constituency.
It was called against the backdrop of attacks on an aspiring parliamentary candidate of the NPP for Ablekuma South, Ms Ursula Owusu in the Odododiodoo Constituency last Wednesday.
The meeting was attended the leadership of the NDC and NPP in the Odododiodoo Constituency.
Representatives of the Electoral Commission (EC) who were supposed to be part of the meeting were, however, absent.
The issue of who qualifies as an ordinary resident to register at a particular registration centre was discussed, at the end of which the parties asked the EC to explain who an ordianry resident was.
The Biometric Voter Registration Guide 2012 issued by the Electoral Commission states that only Ghanaian citizens who are 18 years and above and are of sound mind are qualified to register.
According to the guide, such people should also be resident or ordinarily resident in an electoral area.
The issue of who actually is an ordinarily resident has become the cause of confusion associated with the registration exercise. While one school of thought thinks that an ordinarily resident means that a voter who spends more time in an electoral area but not necessarily resident in the area can register in that electoral area, another school of thought thinks otherwise.
The Greater Accra Regional Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbila, who chaired the function, reminded the leaders of the two parties that Ghana had gained international recognition and respect for upholding the tenets of democracy.
“Ghana is seen in the world as one of the democratic countries, and we have been doing well to ensure our elections are devoid of violence,” he said.
He charged the leadership of the NPP and the NDC in the constituency to use due process as well as laid down rules and regulations clearly spelt out for the biometric registration to resolve any problems they might have with the elections process.
DCOP Timbilla said two wrongs did not make a right, and urged the parties not to take the laws into their own hands in seeking redress.
“You should report to the police on things you are not happy about. The police are there for everybody,” he said and warned that the police would arrest anybody who created problems at registration centres.
He asked party supporters who reported cases to the police to endeavour to follow up on their reports, and provide evidence well.
DCOP Timbilla appealed to the leaders of the two parties to educate their supporters on the need to maintain peace.
Security, he said, was important, and Ghana needed to be peaceful.
Capt (retd) Okaikoi said no matter the problem with the definition on who an ordinary resident was, no one had to break the law by preventing people from registering.
He, therefore, underscored the need for all to respect the law on the registration.
He called on the police to act on reports made by the NPP in the constituency to instil confidence in the people.
For his part, Mr Vanderpuije blamed outsiders for disturbing the peace in the area, adding that the people of the constituency had lived in peace and harmony.
According to him, four fruitful meetings were held to iron out any misunderstandings about the biometric registration, only for the recent problems to occur four days ago.
Members of the NDC, he maintained, were not violent.
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Ocquaye, described the meeting as very useful.
He said it was reassuring for the good assurances from the police to deal with anybody who created problems.
That, he noted, would serve as deterrent to others.
The Member of Parliament for Odododiodio, Mr Jonathan Tackie Kommey, commended the police for the meeting and noted that the problem with the registration in the area was only in about five or six areas in the entire constituency.
He stated that the constituency had been peaceful.
He said it was unfortunate that the EC was not present at the meeting.