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25.05.2004 General News

Speaker cautions against unguarded utterances in election year

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Accra, May 25, GNA - Mr. Peter Ala Adjetey, Speaker of Parliament, on Tuesday said the stakes for this year's election were high, and cautioned against "bare faced insults and unguarded utterances", which could mar the beauty of peaceful elections.

According to him, "our ability to organise a free and fair election would serve to show that Ghana and for that matter Africa, had come of age."

Speaking at a prayer conference in Accra to mark 'Africa Day', Mr. Adjetey urged all parties to place love above partisan politics and parochial interests, to ensure that the rule of law prevailed during and after the elections.

The Day has been set aside to honour founding members of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) for their struggle and sacrifices, which resulted in freedom for African countries and proclaimed the dignity of the African.

The Prayer Conference was organised by Mission Africa, a non-governmental organisation in collaboration with the Office of Parliament.

On the significance of Africa Day, the Speaker said it was up for Ghanaians and Africans to take their destinies into their own hands to ensure that they did not remain marginalized in the current system of globalisation.

He regretted that there was still disunity among Africans, adding that the change of OAU to Africa Union, (AU) meant very little and just a change of acronyms, if nothing was done to seriously integrate the continent.

He said, "there is the need to unite not only on paper but in facts.... and really integrate."

The Speaker said the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) was just another acronym, and that should not deceive us when real efforts were not made towards forming strong partnerships.

He touched on the Peer Review Mechanism, and said it was to ensure that countries on the continent measured their performances by standards set by them to promote good governance.

On the inauguration of the Peace and Security Council of the AU, the Speaker said it was some sort of "fire brigade" to ensure peace on the continent to enable countries carry out their programmes without interruption.

Mr. Adjetey took some time to express worry that the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation did not carry the occasion, which witnessed a time of intercession for Ghana and Africa.

He questioned Ghana Television's standards for assessing the significance of events, and expressed amazement that, "such a programme of national prayer on Africa Day was not carried."

In a speech read for him, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, Minister of Regional Co-orperation and NEPAD, said Africans should be proud of themselves that there was Africa Union to illustrate a sign of unity. He said the unity of Africa demanded that members used a common currency as a legal tender for exchange, to facilitate business transactions in the zone, just like the European Union.

Dr Apraku said plans were advanced for the use of a common currency by Ghana, Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia and Sierra Leone.

He said the Central Bank of the West Africa Monetary Zone would be established on July 1, 2005 with its headquarters in Ghana to fulfil the visions, goals and objectives of NEPAD, AU and West Africa.

"The time has come for us to resist all forms of divide and rule, and march forward as one people with the same sense of direction and purpose to ensure a brighter and prosperous life for the people of Africa".

Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, regretted that Africa had always been at the receiving end of every catastrophe, saying, "the time has come for us to change that situation around for the better".

He mentioned catastrophes such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, poverty, cholera, tuberculosis, wars, conflicts and chaos, adding, "it has never been God's plan to plague Africa with these catastrophes, conflicts and chaos just to destroy us."

".... I strongly believe that God has good plans and thoughts about us which will definitely come to pass if only we give ourselves the chance".

The Okyehene noted that Africa could talk about prosperity and globalisation "but if we do not care and love each other we can never be successful".

He urged Africans to cultivate the habit of tolerating each other and having respect for one another to strengthen the symbol of unity and peace. The Okyehene urged Africans to empower women, and educate their children to make them strong and confident in themselves.

This, the Okyehene said, would help children to do away with ignorance since they were the future leaders of the great nations of Africa.

Apostle Dr. Kodjoe Sumney, President of Mission Africa, said it was the duty of we Western countries to help Africa out of her problems, since they colonised the continent.