What Akufo-Addo Said At The Kumasi Declaration
I, like the vast majority of the Ghanaian people, believe in democracy as the best system of government under which this nation, under God, should be developed. I have fought and stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ghana in advancing the cause of democracy. I want to be President of a united country that is at peace with itself.
The New Patriotic Party has spent a lot of time and energy to fashion out a programme that we believe can lead to a rapid development of Ghana. We want to win a fair and free election to gain a true mandate from the people of Ghana to implement our programmes. We will need the support and energies of all citizens to govern if, God willing, we are given the mandate on December 7.
I believe that the peace that we all seek and pray for in our country can only be guaranteed if every sector plays its part in delivering a free and fair election—the political parties, the Electoral Commission, the government, the security agencies and the citizenry as a whole.
I can speak for the NPP and state without any equivocation that we will not do anything to endanger the peace of the nation in any way during these elections. It is in our interest that the elections come off peacefully and the outcome is credible.
We have reasonable confidence in the systems that have been set up by the Electoral Commission and we urge the Commission’s officials to be unbiased and professional in their work.
I believe the reason the atmosphere still seems clouded with anxiety and there are increasingly loud calls for peace is because the government has not tried to build any confidence measures to assure the citizens that the security agencies have a free hand to do their work in an impartial manner.
The rapid apprehension and prosecution of members of the ruling party who have been responsible for the recent violence against members of the NPP in Asutifi South, a constituency represented in Parliament by a Cabinet Minister, will be one such measure.
Another will be an immediate, impartial investigation into the disturbing contents of the now infamous Yaw Boateng Gyan tape, which the National Organiser of the NDC has accepted as genuine, together with the immediate publication of the results of the inquiry.
People do not feel that the security agencies are party colour blind in performing their duties. This fuels rumours and generates anxiety. The President has a responsibility to move beyond the rhetoric of calling for peace and demonstrate a commitment to ensuring that state institutions discharge their duties professionally and with integrity.
We on our part have no hesitation in signing up to a commitment to peace. I pledge on behalf of the NPP and on my own behalf that we shall accept the verdict of the people, as we did in 2008, and we pray that Ghana emerges as the shining example of a peaceful, democratic nation. I thank Otumfuo the Asantehene, the National Peace Council and IDEG for the important initiative of this platform. God bless us all and God bless Ghana.
… And Ex- President Rawlings too
Ghana has been blessed with peaceful political transitions since we embraced the Fourth Republican Constitution in April 1992.
However many of the electoralprocesses that have led to these transitions have been characterised by uncomfortable levels of tension and indeed several instances of violence and threats of violence. As a people we have to be thankful to God that none of these haveignited into full-blown conflict.
We often pride ourselves as peaceful, but the nature of partisan politics and the tensions that come with fierce political competition, mean we should not take our peace for granted.
Ghanaians are alarmed by the exchange of extremely vitriolic and baselessly abusive language on our airwaves – our politics is now characterised by how loud and abusive one can be, rather than the application of moderate, toned-down logic and common sense in debating the issues. We cannot sustain this and guarantee our peace. Such recklessness is a catalyst for conflict.
I am in no way suggesting that people should be meek and mild. People have a right to be responsibly vigilant during the electoral process.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: All the political parties have played a part in this unpleasant state of affairs and it is a relief the presidential candidates are all gathered here today to express their commitment to peace.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have just returned from upcountry, interacting with traditional leaders and offering my support in their quest for a peaceful election. The tensions in some parts of the country are real and should not be ignored.
Our political leadership have a huge responsibility beyond this forum to give proper counsel to their supporters across the country to desist from reckless impunity if we are to give true meaning to what is happening here today. (What is the value of electoral victory if it is achieved on violence?)
Peace cannot be guaranteed until we back our words with responsibility and tolerance. The media also have to recognise they have a huge role to play in ensuring that the true value of today’s declaration is achieved through the application of strict ethics during political discourse.
The security agencies have a responsibility to be professional, impartial and forthright in the execution of their duties and the judiciary has to resolve electoral disputes with swiftness and fairness, to give the electoral process credibility.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Ghana has come too far in its political evolution. Let us not allow the next few days to destroy these political gains. We cannot fail our people.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Otumfuo Osei Tutu and the National Peace Council for offering a platform for such an important forum. Gratitude should also go to the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) led by Dr. Akwetey, for successfully putting this meeting together. Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: Thank you.
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