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“Political leaders pledge peaceful election”

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Michael Gyekye new pic
All seven aspirants for President have pledged to ensure peaceful polls in Ghana’s election on December 7. Commonwealth Correspondent Michael Gyekye, 23, of Ghana, was there as Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Josephine Ojiambo and the Chair of the Commonwealth Election Observation Mission to Ghana attended a special peace declaration ceremony in Accra.

Ahead of Ghana’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections on Wednesday, all seven aspirants for President have pledged to ensure a peaceful polls. They have also publicly signed an accord to back their declarations.

The candidates’ public affirmation of their commitment to peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections was made at a special ceremony in Accra on Thursday.

The event, witnessed by high-profile figures from the international community, diplomats, local traditional and religious leaders and members of civil society, was held under the auspices of the National Peace Council of Ghana.

Chair of the Authority of Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and President of Liberia, Nobel Peace Laureate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was among  distinguished personalities at the ceremony.

Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, Deputy Secretary-General (Political) of the Commonwealth, represented the bloc at the event.

Ghanaian President John Mahama, who is seeking re-election, expressed confidence in Ghana’s ability to hold peaceful elections.

“This public re-affirmation gives added comfort to our people and guarantees that our nation will continue in peace and stability”, he stated.

The leading opposition candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo, lamented the apparent indifference of state authorities to alleged brutalities against some supporters of his party. He went on to pledge to “accept the verdict of the people in the context of a transparent, free and fair process.”

selfieDr. Josephine Ojiambo described the initiative as a Commonwealth best practice worthy of emulation by other member states.

She further urged the political leaders to “promote issue-based campaigns and shun personality campaigning as this fans the flames of tension.”

The December 7 polls will be Ghana’s seventh since returning to multiparty democratic rule nearly two decades and a half ago. It is billed to be a very closely-fought race.

The peace declaration and signing of the accord are accordingly welcome gestures for assuaging tensions in the country.

In a related development, a Commonwealth Election Observer Group has arrived in the country to monitor the polls.

The Group is led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

“We are here to monitor the polls and will act impartially and independently as we scrutinize its organization and conduct.”, Mr. Mbeki stated in a press conference on Thursday morning.

“We’ll seek to assess the pre-election environment, polling day activities and the post-election period against the backdrop of Ghana’s national legislation, regional and international commitments,” he added.

Listen here for the interview with Dr. Josephine Ojiambo:

Photo credits: Top: Mr. Thabo Mbeki addresses press briefing, courtesy of Michael Gyekye
Inset: Michael Gyekye and Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, courtesy of Michael Gyekye

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About me: I aspire to be a communications, management and policy development consultant. I am a graduate of B. A Political Studies from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. I am especially interested in politics, business, technology and sports. I love to read, write, facilitate programs, offer analytical commentary and travel.

Reach me on Facebook at Michael Adu Gyekye

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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