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22.03.2004 Regional News

Party leaders urged to separate chieftaincy issues from party activities

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Tamale, March 22, GNA- Mr George Opong Asante, Northern Regional Commander of police on Friday called on the leadership of political parties in the region to separate chieftaincy issues from that of political activities to bring peace in the region.

He said the problems that the region is beset with had gone beyond conflicts between the two main opposition parties, and that, it was high time the leadership of the parties especially the NPP and the NDC came together to solve issues rather than seeing each others as enemies. Mr Asante said this when he met the leadership of the various political parties in Tamale aimed at discussing the problems identified at the ongoing registration exercise and what is expected of the parties during the campaign for the December elections, when the state of the emergency is lifted in Tamale and Yendi.

There had been reports from some registration centres in Tamale that some people were going round harassing electorate from registering, which the police said was under investigation.

Mr Asante said it was necessary for political parties to tolerate each other so as to make the December Presidential and the Parliamentary elections peaceful to further "strengthen our infant democracy, which is hailed by the international community".

The Regional Commander urged all political parties' representatives at the registration centres to respect and abide by the Electoral Commission regulations and stop intimidating suspected minors from registering but they should rather fill the "challenge complains form" after the person had registered.

Mr Asante said it was not the duty of the police to explain the "Dos and don'ts" of the exercise to the public but it was in the interest of the general public for the police to maintain peace and order particularly at the trouble areas.

He reminded the leaders of the Public Order Act, Act 491, which enjoins the public to notify the police five days to any programme that they intend to embark on, including political campaign rallies for police protection to ensure peace and order.

Mr Ernest Debrah, Northern Regional Minister told party supporters who were causing confusion in the region that Tamale was not the determining factor for winning the elections in December but all the regions combined and appealed to supporters to give peace a chance.

He said those who are registering now to vote for parties that they have in mind may even change their minds before December and vote for other parties based on their manifesto, adding that, many people would regret if they failed to register and encourage others to do so.

Mr. Debrah later visited some registration centres, which had been marked as trouble spots and interacted with the registration officers and the electorate and appealed to them to make the exercise a success. The Tamale Metropolitan Police Commander Mr A.A. Adjei, the Garrison commander, Group Captain Jacob Nartey and some officials of the RESEC accompanied the Minister to tour the trouble areas.

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