Opposition should also be called to order- JAK
Accra, Oct. 7, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday said chiefs and opinion leaders should appeal to politicians subverting the Government's efforts towards peaceful, free and fair elections to stop their activities.
"Chiefs and opinion leaders continued to appeal to the Government to restrain itself and ensure a peaceful, free and fair elections but failed to appeal to those in opposition to also restrain themselves. Tell those subverting a peaceful, free and fair elections to stop their activities", he said.
President Kufuor was addressing a delegation of the chiefs and elders of the Ho Asogli Traditional Area in the Volta Region, who paid a courtesy call on him at the Castle, Osu.
He said the Government had shown commitment and the goodwill to work under the rule of law, uphold human rights and tolerant to allow the freedom of speech.
"The Government had been self-restraining, otherwise some of the abuses and insults going-on would have been tackled with all the force at its disposal but the Government had not reacted."
President Kufuor said, "democracy is built on tolerance and the Government appreciates that Ghana is nurturing a young democracy, therefore, Ghanaians should let us fairly draw the line to conduct our politics with some decorum and not continue to hit below the belt through newspaper publications.
"It is time Ghanaians began to call a spade a spade, if something is wrong we have to say it, if there is any malfeasance, report to the appropriate authorities for redress and see if the law will not take its course", he said.
President Kufuor said, "it is the Government's duty not to stand aloof when tension begins to mount or any individual arrogates to himself the power to talk and make wild allegations and responsible citizens are convinced to say he is like that, allow him".
He said the security services had been restrained from taking action because there were so much efforts to subvert the political system and "above all we want peace and stability to develop the country".
"All of us should be alert, anyone with genuine grievances should use the appropriate channels to seek redress otherwise a time will come when they would have themselves to blame. We will not allow anyone to have his ego displayed".
President Kufuor expressed regret that some politicians in opposition were casting insinuations and doubts about the Government's commitment to peaceful, free and fair elections.
He asked: "Why the doubts coming from those who appointed the Chairman and the two Deputies of the Electoral Commission (EC) who had conducted elections both in Ghana and other countries since 1992. Why should they doubt their integrity to conduct free and fair elections this year?
"We pray that the EC will stand their grounds without favour to push the country through a free and fair elections".
President Kufuor said the Government's commitment to good governance required that it should embrace all facets of the society, evolution of power should not be concentrated centrally but diffused to other institutions such as chieftaincy to take some of the burden of development.
He expressed the Government's desire to translate the partnership developed between the people in the Volta Region and the Government into practical terms for development.
"President Kufuor's administration is not a Government of tribalism, nepotism, parochial or egoistic tendencies. I want to serve Ghanaians through peace, cooperation and support. All that I need from the people is the peace of mind to marshal my talents and resources for the benefit of the people".
President Kufuor said: "The citizens should feel free and equal anywhere in Ghana. We are trying hard to win the confidence of our people to develop".
He said the problem with the holding of the primaries by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at the Ho Central Constituency would be solved soon to elect a parliamentary candidate.
On chieftaincy and land disputes in the Volta Region, President Kufuor said chiefs had a singular role to play to stop the canker, while the Government was thinking of efforts to manage and cooperate with landlords and chiefs to cut off the sources of the problem for the people to live happily.
He commended the Agbogbomefia Togbe Afede XIV for his development efforts, adding, "your initiatives are laudable and so original, so refreshing and the Government will support you".
"You have come into the evolving group of chiefs in Ghana complementing the Government's role in working for the development of the country."
Togbe Afede pledged the commitment of the chiefs and people to work with the Government to advance the cause of peace, unity and development in Ghana, adding, "we see ourselves as partners in this regard".
He expressed regret that chieftaincy and land disputes were wreaking havoc in some parts of the Region and pledged their support to all efforts to bring peace to Awudome, Peki, Alavanyo and Nkonya.
The Agbogbomefia appealed to President Kufuor to intervene in the conduct of the NPP primaries for Ho Central "to ensure your representatives in the constituency work harder and selflessly in the interest of the people".
He briefed President Kufuor about the just-ended Volta Congress 2004 during which a 10 billion cedis Volta Development Fund and the 20 million cedis Volta Venture Capital Fund were launched.
Togbe Afede appealed to the Government to ensure genuine friendship between the various political parties in the interest of peace. "I pray that God grants you the strength and the courage to work for respect and understanding among Ghanaians, irrespective of tribal and party affiliations", he said.
The Agbogbomefia presented copies of the brochure on the Congress, the first anniversary celebrations of his enstoolment and six bottles of Schnapps to President Kufuor.