A Research report conducted by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Ghana on electoral violence and political vigilantism has suggested the training of the youth as peace ambassadors in hotspot communities to prevent political violence.
The training according to the report would empower them to be interested in peaceful outcomes in their communities instead of using them as tools to perpetuate violence.
Ms Mildred Edinam Adzraku, Research Analyst, CDD-Ghana made the presentation in Accra at a stakeholder forum on ways to address political violence in the country.
The report was conducted by CDD-Ghana in collaboration with the Multi-Stakeholder Consultative Platform in Peace and Governance and supported by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP).
It was conducted in five communities that recorded incidence of electoral violence over the years.They communities are; Bolgatanga, Yendi, Sankore, Asawase and Aflao.
The report recommended that political parties built the capacities of polling agents on the electoral laws since most of them lacked the requisite knowledge that resulted in violence at the voting centres.
The report called for continuous education on peace and to create sustainable jobs for the youth since most of the political violence and vigilantism were committed by idle youth.
It also called on the Electoral Commission to ensure free and fair elections, urging the religious leaders to continue to preach peace at their various platforms for positive outcomes.
The report urged authorities to enforce laws on electoral violence and vigilantism without fear and favour.
There was the need to promote inter-party dialogue and disseminate the outcomes with membership of the parties to understand and act on them.
Ms Silke Hollander, the Acting Resident of UNDP Representative said the United Nations was elated to be part of the initiative to curb the menace of electoral violence and political vigilantism.
She said Ghana provided an important benchmark on matters relating to good governance and democracy and had served as a beacon of peace in the African sub-region.
The Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 are universal geared towards ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoyed peace and prosperity.
She said the resilience of the country’s peace was a source of widespread inspiration and served as cornerstone of development.
Ms Hollander said the UNDP over the years supported various development initiatives aimed at contributing to peace in the country, providing technical and financial support to various peace actors including; women and youth groups.
Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the National Chairman, National Democratic Congress welcomed the research recommendation and pledged to work collectively with party members to ensure peaceful electoral processes.
He appealed to development partners and government to support political parties in recruiting and training party agents to curb the menace of electoral violence and political vigilantism.
Mr Ampofo urged the Judiciary to expedite actions on electoral cases to avoid any untoward situation, since ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’.
Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, the New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Mpraeso lauded the recommendation of the findings and expressed satisfaction on the banning of all vigilantism in the country.
He said the country would no longer witness electoral violence at the Ayawaso West Wuogon and other places, calling on all to collectively speak against all forms of violence to ensure peace and unity.
He urged the authorities to ensure strict enforcement of the law, stressing that any body found culpable of engaging in electoral violence must be punished to serve as deterrent to others.