Accra, Jan. 20, GNA - The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and Chairmen of four leading political parties have initiated modalities to strengthen and deepen inter- and intra- party relationship for a peaceful political environment.
The modalities adopted on Thursday at the end of the first meeting of Caucus of Chairmen of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP) and the People's National Convention (PNC) identified tribal, religious, chieftaincy conflicts and political antagonism as a threat to the nation's democracy.
"Unless we pay attention to conflicts, democracy would be threatened...we would look at and make recommendations to the Government, Electoral Commission, development partners and governance institutions for pro-active actions," the Chairmen said. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday, Dr Kwesi Jonah, IEA Governance Spokesperson, explained that the meeting focused on three key areas - threat to democracy, inter- and intra-party relationships and role of women at decision-making level. He said the Chairmen - Mr Peter Mac-Manu of the NPP, Dr Kwabena Adjei of the NDC, Dr Edmund Delle of CPP and Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan of the PNC - explained that recent chieftaincy conflicts in the North, pockets of tribal and religious wrangling across the country and intra-party antagonism posed a threat to democracy.
Dr Jonah said the Chairmen also agreed to adhere to the Political Parties Code of Conduct, share common experiences on internal party conflict management, and strengthen the Chairmen's caucus. The Chairmen also expressed concern about the low participation of women in decision-making levels within the parties and at national, regional and district levels of administration and governance. The Chairmen, according to Mr Jonah, agreed to use the Women Manifesto as a springboard to enhance and empower women to contest for political positions.
Dr Jonah explained that the Chairmen's Caucus established in 2003 was to create a common platform to enhance institutional capacity of each party, to support the parties to function effectively as a political party, especially after elections and to improve inter-party relationships.
He noted that in Africa the struggle to win political power created bitterness, vindictiveness and an "enemy syndrome". The IEA programme, therefore, seeks to educate the political party leadership to develop inter-party friendship to defuse and avoid any mishap during the electioneering campaign.
Dr Jonah said the purpose of the meeting was to initiate the two newly elected chairmen - Mr Mac-Manu and Dr Adjei - to the modalities of the meeting and discuss 2006 programme. Mr Mac-Manu was elected chairman of the Caucus.
Dr Jonah commended the chairmen for the show of comradeship, sharing of jokes, willingness to cooperate with IEA and unity of purpose for national development exhibited throughout the meeting.