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13.04.2004 Regional News

Workshop on violent-free elections organised for political parties

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Koforidua, April 13, GNA - The Eastern Regional Police Commander, Mr Vincent Dzakpata, has expressed the commitment of the Police Administration to ensure that the December 2004 election is conducted in a peaceful manner.

He further gave the assurance that the police were well prepared to provide maximum protection to individuals and the political parties during the campaign and after the elections.

Mr. Dzakpata, who made this known at a two-day workshop on election non-violence for 40 youth activists of political parties drawn from the Koforidua, New Juaben and Akropong constituencies in the Eastern Region at Koforidua on Tuesday, therefore, called for co-operation from the parties.

Parties which are participating in the workshop include, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP), National Reformed Party, EGLE and the People's National Convention (PNC) Organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in conjunction with the Friedrick Ebert Foundation (FES), the workshop is part of a series of sensitisation process being embarked upon by the NCCE to ensure that peace prevail during and after the forthcoming elections.

The workshop is under the theme: "Developing political party youth activists for a violent-free multi-party political environment." Mr Dzakpata asked the parties to tolerate each other's views and not to consider their opponents as enemies, adding that the Police Administration would provide avenues for the parties to address any grievances.

He reminded them about the Public Order Act which provides that the police should be informed five days before public meetings, rallies and demonstrations are held and warned that the police would deal with anyone who go contrary to the law.

The Police Commander said the peaceful outcome of the elections would depend greatly on the political parties and therefore asked them to educate their supporters to be law-abiding and desist from insults on their opponents

The Deputy Chairman of NCCE in-charge of Programmes, Mrs Augustina Akosua Akumanyi, said such workshops had already been held in six regions with the view to impressing on the parties to ensure free elections in December.

She cautioned that should there be any political violence, it would affect the country's development and therefore, urged the parties to consider that the country belonged to them.

Mrs Akumanyi told the participants that as the youth of the country, the future belongs to them and should not allow anyone to deceive them to engage in political violence.

The Senior Programme Co-ordinator of FES, Mr Edward Boadu, noted that this year's election was very crucial to the nation and therefore asked the political parties not to do anything that would mar the elections and derail the present peaceful atmosphere in the country. According to him, his outfit was sponsoring the workshops to educate the people on the need for peace during the elections "since no development can take place without peace."

"Peace has no price", he stated and therefore called on them to learn about peace.

The Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Twum Baah, Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese of the Methodist Church, who chaired the function, called on the parties to educate their members not to instigate their members against their opponents or consider their opponents as enemies.

He urged them to uphold peace and give peace the chance.

In a welcoming address, the Eastern Regional Director of NCCE, Mr Emmanuel Quaye Sowah, stressed the importance of the workshop and hoped that the participants would disseminate the knowledge acquired to their supporters to ensure peaceful elections.

Earlier, the representatives of the various parties pledged to ensure peace and tolerate each other's views.