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06.08.2004 Politics

Government holds key to nurturing political tolerance

By GNA
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Tamale, Aug 6, GNA- Alhaji Mohammed Baba, Acting Tamale Metropolitan Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has said the government has an important role to play in nurturing and sustaining political tolerance in the country.

He said notwithstanding the fact that the present government won an election after several years of being in the minority, it should be more tolerant in accommodating the dissenting views of its political opponents.

Alhaji Baba was delivering a lecture on: "Curbing the incidence of violence in the wake of the 2004 Presidential and Parliamentary elections", at a day's forum organised by the Northern Students Union (NSU) in collaboration with the NCCE in Tamale on Thursday.

Representatives of political parties, chiefs, religious leaders, youth associations and students were among the participants.

Alhaji Baba said: " the NPP should resist the temptation of using the apparatus of state machinery to suppress or intimidate its political opponents".

He called on the opposition parties to behave responsibly by offering constructive ideas and criticisms to the government instead of opposing every government policy, saying:

"You must be gracious enough to accept defeat in good faith and assume the role of a potential alternative government in waiting". He said both the government and the opposition must learn to co-exist in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust in the supreme interest of the country because "tolerance is an essential ingredient in a multi-party democracy".

Mr Mohammed Kulandi, President of the University of Ghana, Legon, Chapter of the NSU, cautioned potential chiefs and regents to traditional stools and skins not to let politicians divide their ranks with promises that could not be fulfilled.

He said the aim of the Union was to use such a forum to sensitise political parties and their supporters on the need to resolve political differences amicably instead of resorting to violence.

The Union, he said, also undertakes counselling services for students in senior secondary schools on the appropriate combination of subjects to enable them not only to pass their entrance examinations into the universities but also to give them good careers in future.

A cross-section of the participants asked politicians not to use chieftaincy disputes to manipulate the electorate for their selfish ends.

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