President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede has said he wishes the Accra Declaration signed by the seven presidential candidates in this year’s elections, will be the last.

He said just like the sentiments expressed by the National Peace Council, he wished the accord, signed on Thursday, 1 December under the auspices of the Peace Council, “will be the last of any such event but only if we can really demonstrate that our commitment to peace is genuine.”

Togbe Afede made the comment when he spoke at the peace pact signing event.

“This country abounds in talent and experience and eschewing certain people from governance means we are short-changing the country. Let us learn to embrace all for the good of the country”. “Peace is a collective responsibility. …We all have a role to play.” “There are a lot of opportunities for each and every one to make a difference”, he said.

At the event, President John Mahama, who is one of the seven candidates said Ghana will not be plunged into war under his watch saying he has more to lose than anyone else should that eventuality befall the country and has, thus, pledged his utmost commitment to peace in this year’s polls.

Mr Mahama said Ghana’s democracy and peace are “too precious to be gambled away on the altar of an unbridled quest to attain or to hold on to political power”.

“I John Dramani Mahama wish to state my utmost commitment to peaceful and successful elections,” he pledged, adding: “Indeed, I have more to lose than any of the candidates here if this country breaks out in violence.

“I’ve been involved in politics of this country since 1996. My disposition as a nonviolent person is widely known and acknowledged.

“All through my campaign, I have urged my followers to work for a peaceful election. I’ll continue to do so in the time left, before and after the elections, and it’s my wish that my fellow contenders will do so as they wind up their campaigns.

“I pray to the almighty God that it shall not be my portion and that may it not be under my watch that our dear nation Ghana will be consumed by violence.

“I pledge to carry out my dual role both as president of the republic and as a presidential candidate in these forthcoming elections in a manner that shall preserve the peace and stability of our dear nation.

“I declare publicly my respect for the Electoral Commission and the authentic results that shall be declared by this commission. I declare my confidence in the people of Ghana to make a choice of their own freewill of whom to lead them in the next four years.

“…No amount of political power is worth the shedding of one drop of blood of any Ghanaian. Violence cannot be a reflection of a genuine desire to serve. I have absolute confidence in Ghana’s capacity to successfully clear the upcoming democratic hurdle on 7 December 2016 and stay the course of economic and democratic transformation that I have initiated over the last four years,” he said. The six other presidential candidates also pledged their commitment to peace at the event.
Also, leading opposition flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, declared his commitment to a peaceful election, saying he wants to be president of a united country after the 7 December polls.

According to him, the NPP wants to win a free and fair election and the party will, therefore, not do anything to endanger the peace of the country.

“I continue to believe in democracy as the best system of government under which this nation under God should be developed. I have spent nearly four decades of my life standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Ghana in advancing the course of democracy. I want to be president of a united country that is at peace with itself,” he noted.

“Over the course of the last 24 months, the NPP has fashioned out a comprehensive programme which we believe will lead to a rapid development of our country Ghana, and significant improvement in the standards of living of her people.”

Nana Akufo-Addo said: “We want to win a fair and free election and gain the true mandate of the people of Ghana to implement our programmes. We will need the support and energies of all our people to govern if God willing we are given the mandate on 7 December.”

According to Mr Akufo-Addo, the strength of any democracy is determined by the credibility of its electoral system. “It is in our collective interest that we ensure that rules and regulations in the conduct of elections are fair and transparent and that we all develop respect for them,” added the three-time presidential aspirant. He noted that every stakeholder including political parties, the Electoral Commission, government, the security agencies and the citizenry must play their part in delivering a free and fair election.

“There should be no lingering questions about the legitimacy of an election and the winning candidate, at the end of the process, should receive the unalloyed support of all. That is how we can strengthen our democracy and the peace and stability of our nation.”

In his opinion, there is a lot of talk about peace ahead of the polls because security agencies haven’t acted in a way to depict neutrality in the lead-up to the polls. He, therefore, urged them to act without fear or favour.

“I can speak for the NPP and speak without any equivocation that we will not do anything to endanger the peace of the nation in anyway during these elections. It is in our interest that the elections come off peacefully and the outcome is credible,” he stressed.

Source: Ghana/