The youth have been asked to show a keen interest in the country’s electoral process and ensure that it is transparent enough to guarantee free and fair elections in December.
Additionally, they must avoid political entrepreneurs who would use them to cause violence for their parochial interest and to the detriment of the nation’s peace and progress.
They are also to champion the course of peace and harmony before, during, and after the December 7 polls.
Dr. Kenneth Aikins, a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Peace Studies at the School of Development Studies, University of Cape Coast (UCC) who gave the advice urged them to abide by the principles and values that had sustained the peace in the country over the years.
He made the appeal at a day’s dialogue with youth leaders and other stakeholders on “ensuring a violent free Ghana, before, during and after 2020 election in Ghana: The role of the youth,” in Cape Coast.
The meeting, organized by the Central Regional office of the National Youth Authority (NYA) brought together key stakeholders including traditional and religious leaders, reps of political parties, and selected youth from across the region to discuss ways to prevent violence and vigilantism ahead of this year’s general election.
Making an input, Mr. Frank Asmah, the NDC representative, appealed to political parties to refrain from campaigning on ethnic and tribal lines as it tended to cause division among the people.
He cautioned political parties to watch their utterances because they were powerful weapons that could either make or break the fortunes of the nation saying “whatever tactics that we employ as politicians, we should be mindful of the language and the power of words”.
On vigilantism, he appealed to all political parties to respect the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019 (Act 999) whilst planning their campaign activities towards election 2020.
The enactment of Act 999, he indicated, was born out of the realization that vigilantism could no longer be tolerated in the nation’s body politic, adding that “we have come of age in our democratic dispensation, hence the need to reshape our political activities to catch up with the modern trends of politics”.
He noted that if political parties respected the Act, the country would once again advance its democratic credentials with yet another smooth and peaceful election come December 2020.
Mr. Anthony Sackey, the Regional Youth Organiser of the NPP, called on stakeholders to undertake constructive engagements to arrive at practicable, pragmatic and workable solutions on how to break the cycle of violence in recent times and ensure peace.
He appealed to the security forces to be professional and diligent in their work and urged all political party leaders and their supporters to play leading roles in facilitating the conduct of free, fair, and peaceful elections.
He re-echoed that there will be no peace if parties engaged in politics of insult, lies, propaganda, and intimidation and urged all parties to respect the electorate and not take them for granted.
Mr Sackey said peace does not rest in charters and constitutional provisions alone but also in the hearts and minds of all citizens, hence it behooves on all to ensure national peace.
“Let me remind all of us that the December 7, election is not a do or die affair, but a contest of ideas and whoever wins is the one we will follow,” he emphasized as he urged all to maintain the peace in the region before, during and after the elections.
Mr Abdul Majid Coffie, the PPP representative urged all political parties to abide by political codes of conduct and peace pacts they have endorsed to ensure peace in the country.
He entreated the youth not to plunge the country into a situation where all the resources invested in the election will go to waste.
Nana Kwesi Egyir II, Nyimfahen of Oguaa Traditional Area entreated the youth and all other stakeholders to be law-abiding and not to indulge in any activity that will cause fear and panic during the upcoming election.
He urged all the political parties to keep their word and uphold actions that promote peace in the society for accelerated development.