Ayawaso West Wuogon parliamentary candidates commit to peace

A voter casts her ballot in Accra, Ghana, on Dec. 7, 2016. Ghana's general elections began from 7 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Wednesday, with more than 15 million registered voters casting their ballots at 29,000 polling stations across the country. (Xinhua/Shi Song)(gl)

Three parliamentary candidates in the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency have committed to peace before, during, and after the 2020 parliamentary elections.

The candidates; Mr John Setor Dumelo of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Madam Gifty Nana Brima Botchway of the People’s National Convention (PNC), and Mr Richard Mawuli Amegatse, an independent candidate, all pledged to make the Constituency a ‘beacon of peace’ ahead of the December polls.

They made the pledge during a town hall meeting, organised by the Justice and Peace Commission, under the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra at the University of Ghana, Legon.

The meeting was on the theme: “Role of Parliament, Local Authorities and Participatory Governance in Community Development.”

It offered the parliamentary candidates and community members the platform to deliberate on matters of community concern.

Archbishop John Bonaventure Kwofie, the Catholic Archbishop of Accra, in an address read on his behalf, said Ghana had held successful and violent-free elections over the years and charged the candidates and electorate to be peace ambassadors and work towards achieving that at the polls.

“As we mark another period for the elections of our political leaders, permit me to urge all of us to uphold and defend peace by ensuring that these elections also go on successfully,” he said.

Archbishop Kwofie said the Catholic Church had the Catholic Social Doctrine with one of its key principles being the Social Philosophy of Participation.

He said the principle emphasised full participation of citizens in governance at all levels of decision-making and that it was, consequently, the responsibility of leaders to provide a congenial environment for the people to participate in decisions and activities that concerned their lives and wellbeing.

To successfully pursue an integrated and inclusive development agenda, Archbishop Kwofie said it was necessary to encourage one another to actively participate in community development initiatives.

He said people also needed to eschew discrimination, ethnocentrism and other divisive tendencies that could destroy the nation’s development efforts.

“Let us continuously tolerate one another, and accept dissenting, divergent and constructive views, as development is not just about the views of some persons but rather the collective views of all,” he said.

Mr Emmanuel Ofori-Asante, the Legon District Police Commander, said it was important for the citizens to understand politics as a call to express opinions on who should become the leader.

That, he said, should not result in animosity and pledged the commitment of the Police to ensuring maximum security at the December polls.

Mr Ofori-Asante advised political parties to pick polling agents and other voting representatives who could be trusted to enhance security at the elections.

Mr Percy Ocloo, Deputy Returning Officer of the Electoral Commission, Ayawaso West Wuogon, said the Commission had all logistics in place, poised to organising a credible election.

He called on the candidates to educate their supporters on the need to conduct themselves properly throughout the electioneering.

Mr Edem Afeeva, the Municipal Director of the National Commission for Civic Education, Ayawaso West Wuogon, cautioned the people about the dangers of fake news.

“As we go to the polls, a lot of news will be heard. Avoid fake news. Examine the source before you share any information,” he advised.

Dr Stephen Duah-Yentumi, Chairman for the Town Hall Meeting, encouraged Christians, especially Catholics, to participate in governance for the common good of all.

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