Political parties urged to use dialogue-based approaches to address electoral disagreements

Mr Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Secretary of West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP), on Thursday encouraged political parties to use dialogue-based approaches in dealing with electoral disagreement to ensure peace in the country.

This, he said, should be done at the national, regional, district and constituency levels in the country.

Mr Bombande was speaking on the topic: ”Peace Before, during and after Elections 2012 In Ghana: A Shared Responsibility” at a Peace Forum organised by the International Fellowship Programme (IFP) in Accra.

The programme, which was in collaboration with the IFP Alumni Association of Ghana (IFPAAG) on the theme: “Global Peace in the 21st Century, the Role of the Social Justice Advocate in Ghana” was the organisation’s contribution towards the road map to peaceful election 2012.

Mr Bombande said it was important for supporters of various political parties to accept winning or losing an election as part of life and agree to the outcome of election results to ensure peace during the elections.

“We have no choice as a country, than to have peaceful elections coming 2012, the development of the country accounts for in the past three years were because we have managed and maintain a peaceful election in 2008. We would not have been here today if we were to experience war during the last election” he said.

He indicated that for elections to be peaceful there was the need to clearly define the roles of the various stakeholders such as the Electoral Commission (EC), Security Agencies and the media to avoid interference with each other.

“We must look at the role of the media on the Election Day to the declaration of results; they should always ensure that the results they give out to the public are provisional”

According to him, the media should be held accountable to the ethics of their profession, expressing disapproval at certain practices where journalists with media organisations owned by political parties neglected their duties that require them to protect the interest of the people.

“Allowing such things to happen in the media landscape amount to irresponsibility on the part of the journalist,” he added.

Mr Bombande also disagree on the use of “macho men” on an election day at various polling stations to maintain peace and order because most people might have wrong impression about such men, “it is the responsibility of security agencies to maintain peace on an election day, not macho men”.

Mr David Kangah, immediate past Deputy Chairman of the EC, said it was necessary to begin peace advocacy at the fundamental level, especially in children in various schools so they could also embrace peace in the future.

The Ford Foundation IFP provides opportunities for advanced study to exceptional individuals, who will use their education to become leaders in their respective field, furthering development in their own countries and greater economic and social justice worldwide. Ghana has been part of this programme with 108 current beneficiaries. GNA

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