The Community Development and Advocacy Centre (CODAC) under the Strengthening Transparency Accountability and Responsiveness in Ghana (STAR-Ghana) has started an advocacy programme to ensure free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections in the Upper East Region.
The aim of the programme is to promote and ensure electoral rights and responsibilities among citizens through education and advocacy and to organise forums for the electorate to register complaints ensuing from electoral area demarcation, tribal sentiments and discrimination prior to registration, voting, and the immediate post election period.
Mr Bukari Issaku, Programmes Manager of CODAC, speaking at the launch of the programme at Garu in the Garu-Tempane District, said the confidence of the electorate is low in the voter registration and electoral processes, which might have resulted in voter fatigue.
According to him the lack of confidence in the electoral process and systems stemmed from apathy among constituents due to failed promises by polital parties and the challenges associated with the electoral system.
He said the Bawku municipality was a conflict zone, and that the slightest provocation could inflame passions for another conflict to erupt.
Mr Issaku noted that as part of the programme, there would be radio programmes with prominent and senior citizens, traditional authorities and security experts talking extensively on conflict prevention, electoral rights and responsibilities, as well as political tolerance among other pertinent issues.
He called on the media to be circumspect on their reportage on elections and prevent political party commentators who use intemperate languages on radio. He said journalist should adhere strictly to media guidelines for election coverage to prevent conflict as witnessed in some African countries.
He said the active participation of all in the electoral process would translate into high voter registration and turnout in the 2012 elections.
Superintendent Appiah Richard, District Police Commander of Garu Tempane noted that the police in the area were poised to ensuring peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections in the area.
He added that the Police had initiated a programme with the district assembly and other stakeholders to sensitize political parties and individuals on peaceful electioneering campaigns, devoid of violence and acrimony.
The Project, which is expected to run for a period of one year, will be replicated in Zebilla, Pusiga and some parts of the Upper East Region. GNA