All the seven presidential candidates contesting next week's general election, yesterday converged at Movenpick Hotel in Accra to pledge their commitment to peaceful elections, but the event was overshadowed by ill-fated special voting that saw many special voters having their names missing from the voters' list.
The Accra Peace Accord, initiated by the National Peace Council in conjunction with the National House of Chiefs, became necessary after several reports of attacks on supporters of the opposition party, New Patriotic Party (NPP), creating tension before the Wednesday, December 7 elections.
Six of the seven presidential candidates were present at the peace pact with Progressive People's Party's (PPP's) Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, being represented. President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the New Patriotic Party's (NPP's) Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings of the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Convention People's Party's (CPP's) Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, the People's National Conventions' (PNC's) Dr. Edward Mahama and independent candidate Jacob Osei Yeboah. Dr. Nduom, was represented by his running mate, Bridget Dzogbenuku.
The flag bearer of the NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, fully pledged his commitment to peace before, during and after the December 7 polls but said President John Mahama and the ruling party must stop their rhetoric over their peaceful character when they look on with glee for supporters of the ruling NDC to beat up, maim and kill NPP supporters, especially in the Asutifi South and Asunafo South Constituencies in the Brong-Ahafo Region and Odododiodoo in Accra.
The NPP presidential candidate said the reason why the political atmosphere seems clouded with anxiety and increasing loud calls for peace is because the government has not tried to build any confident measures to assure Ghanaian citizens that the security agencies have a free hand to do their work in an impartial manner.
He indicated that in Odododiodoo and Asunafo South Constituencies, violence is being perpetrated against members of the NPP on daily basis by operatives of the ruling party with virtually no action from the security services, stressing that what is fuelling anxiety and rumuors is that many Ghanaians do not feel that the security agencies are neutral in performing their duties.
“The rapid apprehension and prosecution of members of the ruling party who have been responsible for the recent violence against members of the NPP in Asutifi South, a constituency represented in parliament by a cabinet minister, will be one such measures to curb the violence,” he said.
Nana Akufo-Addo told the respected audience, made up of the Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States who is also the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; a former president of South Africa, Thambo Mbeki and UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, that he has always stood for peace in his over 40 years in politics.
He said in the 2008 general election, even though he lost by the slimmest margin of 40,000 votes after leading in the first round, he did not ask for recount and readily accepted the results.
He said in the same manner when he contested the results of the 2012 presidential election in court, he accepted the Supreme Court ruling without inciting supporters of his party.
“We in the NPP proved to the world that we were willing and able to submerge our individual and partisan preferences for the common good. We demonstrated clearly that it was not the ambitions of Akufo-Addo, nor fortunes of the NPP that we sought to promote,” he said, adding that the stability and progress of Ghana and the enhancement of her democracy were the paramount considerations that guided the action of the NPP in those difficult days.
President John Mahama also promised his utmost commitment to peaceful and successful elections this year.
“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 would be consumed by violence,” he said
President Mahama said he would continue to carry out his dual role as president and a presidential candidate in a manner that will promote peace and stability of the country.
“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 free will of whom they wish to lead them over the next four years. 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 December 7, 2016 and stay the course of democratic and economic transformation that I have initiated over the last four years,” he added
The independent presidential candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah, said the happenings within Ghana ahead of the December 7 elections do not give signals of peaceful polls.
He said the monster threatening the peace of the nation is partisan politics. He therefore, called upon Ghanaians to emulate Benin by voting for a candidate not affiliated with any political party.
Mr Yeboah said, “I would rather wish that the seven of us should be killed rather than the nation killed for the seven of us.”
The chairperson of ECOWAS, Ellen Johnson, said that Ghana has an enviable record and reputation in democracy which spans three successful transfers of power from one government to another
She therefore, asked all the presidential candidates and political leaders to ensure that the country preserves its democratic credentials and ensure peaceful elections on December 7.