Political leaders in the country must rise up and ensure violence-free elections this year, a former General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, has said.
He said the country must reverse the disturbing trend of political violence that had accompanied electoral activities over the past years with the opportunity presented by this year’s elections.
“Although the stakes are high in this year’s election, political leaders must ensure that the electoral violence that keeps recurring in our elections must be a thing of the past.
“People must not die or be maimed because of elections and we must all work as citizens and political leaders to ensure a violence-free election this year,” he said.
Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong, who is also a Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, told Graphic Online in an interview that credible and peaceful elections were the collective responsibility of all stakeholders.
“Credible, peaceful election always is a collective responsibility.
We don’t leave the Electoral Commission alone to handle the challenges we are talking about. We don’t leave the security agencies alone,” he said.
Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong, a lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, called on traditional and religious leaders to demand commitment to peace and accountability from politicians who visit their palaces, churches and mosques for blessings prior to elections.
He also cautioned traditional leaders to uphold their neutrality in accordance with the 1992 Constitution and avoid open endorsements of candidate who call on them.
To prevent electoral violence, Rev. Dr Opuni-Frimpong said there must be a collective responsibility from all stakeholders, including the EC, political parties, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies, the law courts and the youth to ensure justice, peace and fairness during elections.
He called on the National Media Commission to check the media, especially media houses that were partisan in their operations, to make sure they did their work with a sense of objectivity, and not always attack people of opposing political orientation to incite violence.
He urged young people to protect their future and not allow politicians to exploit or use them so they do not become casualties of political violence.
He also appealed to political leaders to be legacy-minded, and make sure their political footprints were good memories that could be emulated by young generations of politicians that might come after them.
He also encouraged religious people to exhibit the faith and moral values taught in the churches, mosques and traditions in the political arena to ensure that political campaigns and elections were conducted peacefully.
Source – Graphic online