The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) Monday urged the Electoral Commission to be sensitive to the political undertones of its decisions and work to build consensus with the political parties on the way forward.
Mrs Theodora Williams-Anti, the Programmes Manager of the pro peace Civil-Society Organisation, asked the stakeholders, especially the political parties, to also show good faith and put the security of the nation first as they deliberated whether there should be a new voter’s register or not.
Mrs Williams-Anti, who was speaking in an interview, on Monday, with the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, said FOSDA was worried that the entrenched positions taken by some of these key stakeholders in the electoral process could degenerate into violence if caution was not exercised.
“The voter’s register is a sensitive material in the electoral process, so such confusion around it at this time in an election year increases its potential to trigger violence before, during and after the elections,” she said.
FOSDA, she said, acknowledged that the EC was in the best position to enumerate what was needed to ensure a credible and trustworthy general election this year.
However, the timing and lack of consensus, especially among political parties, might go a long way to discredit the efforts, she added.
The Foundation, Mrs William-Anti said, was also concerned about the use of demonstrations by some political parties to express their displeasure with the EC’s decisions.
It, therefore, appealed to all stakeholders, especially the political parties, to use dialogue to engage the EC, rather than resorting to demonstrations and other crowd pulling activities, which had the potential of destabilising the country.
She urged Ghanaians not to take the peace of the nation for granted but to work harder to sustain it ahead of the elections, throughout the processes and thereafter.
“We call on political leaders, especially to show maturity and be circumspect in speech and action. We urge them to eschew hate speech and show responsible leadership to influence their followers positively,” she said.
“We acknowledge that absence of war does not mean there is no conflict, Conflict will always arise but how we address it portrays the level of our maturity as individuals and as a nation,” she said.
She appealed to the Government to work hard to minimise some of the triggers of violence; such as high youth unemployment, interference in the work of key state institutions, such as the EC and the security agencies, and meddling in chieftaincy issues.
The Government should also facilitate the work of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) with adequate funding for their programmes.
“We also call on Government to take another look at the Emile Short Commission report on the Ayawaso-West Wuogon Constituency Parliamentary bye-election to sanitise the security sector for the upcoming elections.
“It is important that our security personnel act professionally before, during and after the 2020 elections,” she said.
It should also invest in the provision of logistics and training for the security ahead of the elections.
Mrs Williams-Anti appealed to the Police to ensure an equal playing field for all in the society by ensuring the compliance to the laws without fear of favour.
The media must also be circumspect in their reportage and use their platforms to promote peace rather than violence.
All Ghanaians, especially the youth, must participate actively and positively in the democratic development of Ghana and resist vigilantism.