GHANA cannot afford to mar its preparations for the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary election in December, the Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Mr Emmanuel Bombande, has said.
He added that Ghana could not afford to disgrace itself by unrestrained actions, accusations, violence and tension that would mar the elections.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview, he said all eyes in the global community were fixed on the country, observing what the country would make of its elections,
Already, against a backdrop of tension in some places within the country, there was genuine global concern for the country as it prepares for the elections, he stated.
These concerns he said had been expressed by participants attending the Ministerial Summit on the Geneva Convention on Armed Violence and Development in Geneva.
Mr Bombande, who is among some selected civil society organisations (CSO), invited by the Swiss government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), told the Daily Graphic from Geneva that Ghana could not afford to disgrace itself by unrestrained actions.
For that reason, he passionately pleaded with all political parties to restrain themselves and help defuse tension in the country.
“Everyone you meet here is talking about the country and how it is preparing for its elections. The political parties must, therefore, mount the moral ground and make a decision to stop the trading of accusations at each other and help not to throw the country into chaos, otherwise all will be lost,” he said.
While frowning on news reports of separate fact-finding missions by the NDC and the NPP to Gushiegu and the resultant trading of accusations as to who caused the fighting there, Mr Bombande also blamed the police for their seeming inaction at certain critical times.
He conceded that although the police, sometimes, had to go through periods of investigations to come out with the facts of a case, it was imperative for them, while doing so, to give statements to the communities to assuage their anger and enable them give them (the police) the co-operation needed for their work.
He said the seeming inaction of the police in ensuring speedy investigations and prosecutions of perpetrators of the violence in Gushiegu had created a vacuum that the political parties were capitalising on to undertake their own fact-finding missions and the resultant trading of accusations and exacerbation of tension in conflict areas.
“For the sake of the national interest, let us all restrain ourselves and prove to the world we are capable,” Mr Bombande said.
Two years ago, 92 countries, including Ghana, signed the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.
The Ministerial Summit is to review actions by the signatories to the declaration in the promotion of peace for development.
Submitted September 12, 2008
Published Daily Graphic, Wednesday, September 17, 2008 PG 17