The Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Civil Forum Initiative (CFI), have charged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and Former President John Mahama to work towards ensuring peaceful and credible elections on December 7.
They asked the two leaders, President Akufo-Addo, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and former President John Dramani Mahama, flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to ensure that regardless of the outcome of the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, peace prevailed.
A statement signed jointly by Major General Nii Carl Coleman (Rtd), Chairman, CFI, and Mr Kwesi Jonah, Senior Research Fellow, IDEG, said several representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), recently met to discuss the critical aspects of Ghana’s December 2020 elections and held that it was important for the two leaders to “work closely” for peace.
It said the meeting noted with grave concerns the rising political temperature and its associated build-up of tension and deep-seated mistrust between the two major parties; NPP and NDC, the main opposition party, and the Electoral Commission (EC) and the spread of insecurity and fear.
The statement said there was a consensus that the prevailing state of fear and insecurity posed a direct and immediate threat to the conduct of peaceful elections in December.
It said a major element of the pre-election political tension was the deteriorating relationship between the NDC and the EC and the huge trust deficit it posed to the political system.
The statement intimated that the pre-election tension was further aggravated by the looming fear of vigilante violence.
It said following the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence in 2019, some positive measures had been taken with the view to eliminate vigilantism from the country’s electoral politics.
The statement said a Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019 had been enacted by the Parliament of Ghana and the National Peace Council (NPC) mediation had resulted in the signing of a Roadmap and Code of Conduct for ending vigilante violence by the NDC and NPP.
It said, fortunately, President Akufo-Addo and former President Mahama, had a proven track record of commitment to electoral peace and the elimination of political impunity in Ghana.
The statement noted that the two flagbearers were signatories to the peace pacts in the 2012 and 2016 elections and had both reaffirmed their support for peaceful and credible elections.
“What Ghanaians require of them is to translate their commitment into concrete action by working together to end political and electoral violence before, during and after the December 2020 elections,” it said.
The statement also urged the EC to reaffirm its commitment to strict principles of neutrality and impartiality and uphold the highest standards of integrity, transparency and fairness in delivering its mandate ahead of the polls.
“We also appeal to the NDC and the EC to take urgent steps to engage in confidence-building dialogue to boost mutual trust and enhance the prospects for credible, peaceful and violence-free elections on December 7,” it said.
It called on the security agencies to commit themselves to strict enforcement of the Vigilantism and Related Offences Act 2019 and to deal with all perpetrators of election-related violence and intimidation without regard to party affiliation and position of offenders, to bring to an end political impunity and demonstrate the highest standards of professionalism and political neutrality.