24.10.2004 Politics

Democratic election is not a war - Tieku

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Akrokerri (Ash), Oct 24, GNA - Mr Kofi Tieku, an Independent Parliamentary Candidate for the Fomena Constituency, has observed that the repeated calls for prayers by religious groups during this year's election period was sending signals that partisan politics and elections were periods of war.

"The too many calls for prayers on our televisions and radio stations and the like are sending signals that politics is war", he said.

Mr Tieku, who was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Akrokerri, urged Ghanaians to behave in a manner that would make others see the country as having grown in democracy. He said it would be shameful and primitive if elections were perceived as periods for violence stressing that election was not a war and that there should not be any panic.

"If elections is going to be frightening and warlike, then we should avoid democracy and go back to the primitive era", Mr Tieku said and adding, " after 47 years of independence we are still expressing ourselves as being afraid of elections".

Mr Tieku, who was the former Head of the Special Services Department of AngloGold Ashanti, asked Ghanaians to avoid all forms of violence during the 2004 elections.

Explaining why as a known New Patriotic Party (NPP) member he was contesting as an independent, Mr Tiieku said initially he did not show any interest in active politics since he was tired and needed rest after retiring from AngloGold Ashanti but he was approached by "the very voters in the constituency to stand".

"My situation is a duty call. The voters have asked me to lead them and I have agreed since they are saying that they would not vote should I fail to contest the elections", he said.

He said for the growth of the country's democracy, the views and wishes of the voters must be respected.

Asked whether his action would not be misconstrued as having let NPP down, Mr Tieku said; "I love NPP. I don't hate the Party. I am still an NPP but at the same time I will not condone wrong because of party affiliation."

The Independent Candidate said everybody knew him as an NPP member including the Executives but because he resolved to lead the people as an independent candidate, he was now being labelled as an NDC supporter. "It is malicious that some NPP people are now saying that I am an NDC. It is sad that people are not seeing my action as safeguarding the interest of the NPP in the constituency".

Mr Tieku said he had no grudge with the MP for the area but only that he did not want to disappoint the voters. He said when given the mandate he would serve the people in truth and humility.

He criticised the phenomenon where monetary influence played key role in elections, adding: "So if the person is rich he should be given the mandate to Parliament?"

He said the practice of bringing unqualified persons to lead the people at the constituency levels had brought a lot of problems to the parties.

"We must look at the issues and the personalities involved with regard to their suitability before we vote but not to be influenced by monetary gifts", Mr Tieku said.

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