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24.11.2004 Regional News

Chiefs, queen mothers participates at forum

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Sunyani (B/A), Nov. 24, GNA -Two participants at a day's forum for chiefs and queen mothers organised by the Brong Ahafo Regional Secretariat of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Tuesday suggested the need for the suspension of Radio phone-ins and newspaper review programmes two weeks before and two weeks after the forthcoming December 7 general elections in Brong-Ahafo Region.

Okatakyie Agyemang-Kudom, Omanhene of Nkoranza Traditional Area and President of Brong-Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs chaired the programme, attended by 68 participants made up of chiefs and queen mothers within the Sunyani Municipal Assembly.

In the opinion of the two participants the suggestion, if taken seriously, would go a long way to ensure the much yearning for violent-free elections this year.

The participants, Nana Sarbeng Ababio and Nana Aboa Boahemaa Akwamuhene and Dwantuahemaa respectively both at the Sunyani Traditional Council were concerned about what they described as unpalatable radio programmes in some FM Radio Stations in the region and called for their suspension two weeks before and after the elections to avoid any chaotic or unpleasant scenes.

Making their contribution at an open forum, they blamed some supporters of some political parties in the region for being provocative and attacking in their phone-in reactions or comments on topical issues during newspaper reviews, adding that the suspension of the two programmes could go a long way to prevent any political tension and therefore saving any negative scene in the region in this year's election.

Another participant, Nana Baah Bentu of Awuah-Domase urged Ghanaian public to respect all political parties in the country to ensure effective parliamentary planning for the nation in terms of debate on national policies.

Nana Bentu said the cause of the 1966 coup that toppled Dr. Kwame Nkrumah's Regime came about in view of the one-party state idea with which the Government of the Convention People's Party (CPP) planned to rule the nation.

He repeated the need for Ghanaians to give equal respect to opposing political parties to enable them keep the incumbent government on its toes in governance so that the current democracy by changing the Government through ballot box could effectively be maintained.

He regretted the practice whereby supporters of some political parties removed others' posters and bills saying that also could spark off political clashes and called such supporters to stop the practice. Addressing the Forum on the topic, "Ensuring Peaceful Elections" Mr. Kofi Adomah, Regional Director of NCCE mentioned a number of factors that contributed to political violence, adding that party leaders, party supporters, party agents, the media, security services and Judiciary, the youth, the electorate, election officials, and the chiefs all have roles to play if Ghanaians were to witness violent-free elections in December 2004.

Mr. Adomah asked chiefs in the region to devote part of their time to the discussion of ways of promoting peace on festive days with their people as their contribution to the promotion of peace in the country. They could also help by monitoring political activities in their towns and villages and offering advice to erring political parties and supporters and also add their voice to calls by concerned citizens on FM Radio operators for proper use of phone-in programmes.

Chiefs could also advise media personnel to show more interest in developing news instead of sensationalism, which tends to sow seeds of discord among the people stressing "chiefs can do these only and only if they appear to be politically neutral".

Mr. Adomah pointed out that any political bias on your part will make it difficult to give advice on political tolerance because people won't take you serious if they suspect that what you think is a fatherly or motherly advice is an attempt to promote your political interest". The Regional NCCE Director reminded chiefs in the region that a peaceful country could easily attract investors to help in its development.

He said there are a lot of unemployed youth roaming the streets of the country while others travel outside to face inhuman conditions out of frustration.

"I believe that if Ghana is able to remain stable, investors will flock into the country to set up businesses to offer employment to our people," Mr. Adomah added.

The chairman of the occasion Okatakyie Agyeman-Kudom, an ex-serviceman in his closing remarks said Ghanaians should try as much as possible to avoid any action that could force a change of government to happen through a coup instead of a ballot box since a military coup more often had negative effect on the socio-developmental processes of any nation.

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