24.04.2004 General News

Four political parties discuss campaign 2004

24.04.2004 LISTEN

Takoradi, April 24, GNA - Leaders of the various political parties have been urged to exhibit high sense of responsibility and ensure that their actions and utterances during the campaign for the 2004 elections were devoid of rancour, insults and violence.

The Most Reverend Dr John Martin Darko, Catholic Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, said all must eschew egoism, greed and misplaced pride.

Speaking at a symposium at Takoradi on Saturday on the theme: "Campaign decorum in election 2004", he appealed to political parties and their respective candidates to show maturity, love for neighbour and love for the nation.

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Multi-party Democracy (NIMD) organised the forum, which was attended by representatives of the ruling New Patriotic Party, the main opposition National Democratic Congress, People's National Convention and the Convention People's Party.

Most Rev Darko held that political party activists would remain disciplined only if their leaders were themselves disciplined.

"We have nowhere else to go. Let us learn from the painful examples of collapsed systems around us; if we cannot be disciplined in this aspect, then we can only be called stupid", he warned.

Bishop Darko told the party representatives that their real enemies were their own selfish members and not those in "opposite camp".

"Therefore I ask you to clear your own backyard before you try to clean that of others", he said, adding that the parties should be grateful to their opponents for keeping them on their toes by pointing out their mistakes to them.

Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Elembele, said the upcoming elections would be another test of maturity of the Ghanaian electorate and the level of democracy in the country.

"We need to have peaceful elections and this will definite depend on ourselves", he said adding that politics should not be perceived as "life or death affair".

Other speakers called on journalists and others in the media to be circumspect in their reportage and not to be seen to be fanning division among the people.

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