Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, Executive Director, IDEG
Two civil society organisations (CSOs) have appealed to the presidential candidates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to abide by the tenets of the peace pact they signed prior to the December 7 polls.
In a press statement released yesterday, the two CSOs, the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI), said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the NPP and former President John Dramani Mahama of the NDC must conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and also resort to the court system as a means of seeking any redress relating to the polls.
“The disputed results have raised questions about the credibility of the outcome of the elections which can only be resolved in a court of law. Accordingly, we urge the aggrieved parties to resort to the court system to deal with the disputed aspects of the results instead of resorting to violence,” the statement said.
The two frontrunners of the December 7 general election, President Akufo-Addo and former President Mahama, signed the peace pact on December 4, this year, under the auspices of the National Peace Council (NPC).
The pledge by the two political leaders said: “Anxious to renew our deep commitment to peace in all political activities, before, during and after the December 2020 elections, hereby declare as follows:
“That we hereby commit ourselves and our supporters to peaceful elections in the December 2020 general election;
“That we undertake to accept the results of the said elections;
“That we undertake to restrain our supporters from resorting to violence in the aftermath of the said elections;
“That we are committed to the judicial resolution of all election disputes”.
The two CSOs commended the Electoral Commission (EC) and the political parties for the peaceful manner in which they conducted themselves, leading to relatively peaceful elections.
They, however, expressed concerns about the controversy which had marred the presidential results which handed victory to President Akufo-Addo, as well as the parliamentary results.
“The public has the right to know the truth about any discrepancies relating to the results because the election was the best opportunity for the electorate to exercise their sovereign right.
“The courts have the mandate and the tools to investigate, review and resolve any election-related disputes based on the evidence provided in a transparent manner,” the statement added.
In another development, a pressure group, OccupyGhana, called on the leaders of all political parties to calm their respective followers down, condemn violence and speak peace to the people of Ghana.
It also entreated all stakeholders in our electoral process and security agencies to engage with the political parties involved to forestall any new violent incidents or fatalities.
“We have been and remain a peaceful people. We do not condone violence and we must oppose all who for personal ambition, seek to drag this country into the abyss,” the statement from the group said.
It expressed disappointment at the incidents and rise in electoral violence, which had reportedly led to the deaths of some Ghanaians.
“We strongly condemn these acts of violence and demand a full investigation into them, and the arrest and prosecution of those involved.
The group said there was no conceivable electoral dispute or disagreement that could not be resolved in the cold calmness of the court rooms of this land.
“We regret that similar acts of electoral or other politically inspired violence in times past have not led to any prosecutions, which may have helped create a culture of impunity, where people have believed that they can get away with it.
“It is even more regrettable when this violence is unleashed by our security agencies. We urge the security forces to exercise the highest levels of restraint when dealing with the public,” the statement added.