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10.06.2004 General News

Lack of transparency in electoral systems causing unrests

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Tamale, June 10, GNA - The refusal of some political Leadership to allow transparency in their country's electoral systems has been the cause of upheavals in Africa, the Northern Regional Director of the Electoral Commission (EC) has said.

Mr Isaac Asamani, the Director, noted that the occurrence of political unrests suggested that there were many unresolved problems with the electoral systems.

He was presenting a paper on: "The conduct of peaceful elections in the Northern Region - Prospects and Challenges", at a three-day "Peace-Building and Conflict Transformation Workshop" in Tamale on Wednesday.

The forum was organised for the Northern Region Peace Advisory Council (NORPAC), representatives of political parties and the media in Tamale to put the participants "in the right frame of mind" to promote peace in the Region.

The Ghana Network for Peace building (GHANEP), a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) organised the forum.

Mr Asamani attributed some of the electoral problems to certain groups of people who believed that any election results not in their favour was not a true reflection of the voice of the people.

"This situation makes electoral administration difficult and matters get worse when election issues are linked to local political crisis."

He said the conduct of a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election had to do with the laws, rules and regulations governing the electoral process, which must be accepted by all and not to give undue advantage to any party or candidate.

The EC Regional Director noted that the challenges facing the Region were the willingness of the people to be guided by these rules to ensure violence- free elections.

Mr Asamani said: "Many a time, people had attempted to circumvent the rules and regulations so as to gain advantage over others, but when they are beaten to their own game by their opponents, they come complaining."

He called on leaders of political parties and their supporters to be disciplined and avoid impersonation. They should also prevent minors from voting and desist from inflammatory utterances, which he said, had the potential of disturbing the unity and peace in the Region.

Mr David Ampah Bennin, Police Chief Superintendent at the Regional Headquarters in Tamale, who spoke on: "The Public Order Act and the Executive Instrument of 2003", took the participants through the relevance of these laws and urged the political parties and their supporters to respect the laws to avoid prosecution.

He called on the media to be circumspect in their reportage, saying: "You must avoid filing stories that are of ethnic references or stories that will incite hatred against any group or persons."

He said the media should ensure that stories they filed did not contain propaganda and matters that would diminish human dignity. 10 June 04