Thursday, 17 May 2012

Ghana: Government outlines measures to prevent electoral disputes

The government outlines measures to prevent electoral disputes as leading politicians and interest groups continue to call for peace in the run up to the 2012 elections.

Longstanding pressure on both main political parties to ratchet down the election rhetoric and eschew violence is beginning to have some effect. The main protagonists are, however, still far from making the necessary public commitments on banning hate speech and condemning violence that is necessary. There is a large measure of hypocrisy from both sides on the issue and the need for a more assertive stance from neutral civil society organisations.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has reaffirmed its commitment to peaceful elections after various incidents of violence and corruption during the recently completed biometric voter registration exercise prompted widespread criticism of the ruling party as well as the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP). Attorney General and Minister of Justice Benjamin Kumbuor told local reporters that the government is implementing measures to prevent electoral disputes including fresh training for the security agencies.

Observers are continuing to express concern about violent rhetoric used by politicians in the run up to December's general election.

The Ghana for Peace movement, for example, which is a non-partisan youth group with a country-wide membership, has begun a nationwide peace tour calling for young people to reject violence in the run up to the December general elections.

The Coalition of Muslim Organisations - Ghana (COMOG) has said that the biometric registration exercise had been characterised by provocative confrontations, reckless statements, and advocacy for lawlessness along tribal lines by a cross section of self-seeking politicians who should know better.

During a dialogue between the eastern regional police command and political party representatives in Koforidua, the latter said that developments during the biometric voter registration campaign had highlighted a number of concerns, including the need for the police to be fair and firm to all irrespective of their political beliefs.

For more news and expert analysis about Ghana, please see Ghana Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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