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13.07.2004 Politics

Parties must avoid rumours - NCCE

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Accra, July 13, GNA - Politicians were on Tuesday asked to exercise restraint in speech and show respect for the opinions of others so that the electioneering campaign would not be a war of words.

Mr Laary Bimi, Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), who made the call, said the spreading of untrue and ill-motivated rumours calculated to mar the character or reputation of officials and members of rival parties should be avoided.

Mr Bimi, who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the concerns expressed by a section of the public about the use of bad language and the blatant flouting of the Political Parties Code of Conduct as adopted by all the parties must be enough warning to political leaders that Ghanaians abhor negative politicking.

Mr Bimi, therefore, appealed to politicians to be circumspect in the use of language on the political platform, as this has been the breeding ground for the war of words that was gradually creeping into the electioneering process.

He cautioned against allowing the euphoria of political rallies to tempt them to use words that could not be substantiated and expect the Media to act as public relations officers of their parties in their reportage.

"You must not undress in public and wish that the Media will cover your nakedness".

Mr Bimi said the code enjoined all parties and their agents to avoid defamatory, derogatory and insulting attacks on rival parties or individual personalities by any form of communication, written or verbal.

"Though the code allows for criticism of opponents, it must be based on policies, actions and programmes of rival parties and it must be done with decorum and not an inflammatory language," he said.

Mr Bimi said all political leaders should tolerate and respect the rights and freedoms of other political parties to disseminate their manifestos without intimidation and violence and respect the electorate and other members by addressing them in decent, civil and truthful language.

Political parties should educate their followers to conduct themselves in civil and morally acceptable manner, educate their rank and file on existing electoral laws, rules and regulations and avoid gender, ethnic or religious derogatory remarks, he emphasised.

Political parties have reaffirmed their commitment to an 11-point Code of Conduct for political parties' operations in the country singed in 2000 for the 2004 electioneering campaign.

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