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07.12.2004 Politics

Pre-election violence in three northern regions low- CDD

By GNA

Accra, Dec. 7, GNA- Contrary to intense speculation and public perceptions about heightened political rivalries in Northern Ghana, the monitoring of pre-election violence in volatile constituencies in the three Northern regions have yielded a relatively small volume of violent incidences.

Despite the intense rivalry between the supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which sometimes manifested in violent clashes, "the enduring capacity of the people in these communities to tolerate one another, had contributed immeasurably in calming and stabilizing the political atmosphere. The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), said in a report on Tuesday.

The pre-election monitoring was undertaken in November, right up to the close of the campaigns on December 6, in nine constituencies in the three regions. The regions included Yendi, Tamale, Bawku and Wa. The report was issued in Accra on the pre-election monitoring conducted in those regions by the Centre in collaboration with the Tamale-based Institute for Policy Alternatives (IPA). International Foundation of Election Systems (IFES) provided funds for the exercise.

According to the statement, 27 incidents of violent nature were recorded during the period.

Out of the number, seven of them were considered to be of a very serious nature, where the victims either sustained physical injuries, property loss or in one or two instances, loss of lives.

The report said most of the incidents recorded were between the supporters or sympathizers of the two major parties - NDC and the NPP. Only three incidents involved independent candidates, it said. "It is instructive to note, Yendi, citadel of the Dagbon Kingdom has been relatively calm. No observable incidence of pre election violence has been reported or observed by our monitors. Security in Yendi has been tight and suspicions of potentially explosive situations have been appropriately mediated throughout the pre-election period." According to the report although Tamale recorded the highest number of violent incidents, the capacity to manage these incidents and prevent them from escalating was relatively high.

The exercise seeks to build enduring peace, through early-warning and sustained monitoring and focussed on the three regions because of their past history of higher propensity of election disputes leading to violence, the report explained.

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