Election 2024 National Election Response Group launched to control violent threats

The West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the National Peace Council (NPC) have launched a 'National Election Response Group (NERG)' to monitor and promote violence-free elections. The Group, made up of civil society organisations, political parties, nongovernmental organisations, development partners, institutions and eminent persons would among other functions set up a situational room to monitor and address violent threats in the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Dr Chukwuemeka Eze, the Executive Director, WANEP in a speech read on his behalf, said through the years, West Africa had witnessed new threat vectors and non-conventional intersectionality associated with electoral processes and undermining democratic processes in the region. Additionally, election-related violence had fractured communities and caused significant infrastructural damage and loss of lives. At the core of the challenges, he said was the upward trajectory of mistrust among political actors, between i nstitutions and between citizens and the State which had been fuelled by both realities and perceptions of a deepening culture of politicisation and lack of transparency. Dr Ernest Adu Gyamfi, Governing Board Chair, NPC, said the Global Peace Index since 2019 had ranked Ghana as the most peaceful country in the West Africa sub-region except in 2023 when the country lost that position to Sierra Leone. 'This should remind all of us of the need to jealously guard the peace and our peaceful coexistence in the upcoming general elections,' he said. He said NERG would hold working sessions to analyse the early warning reports that would be submitted to it by WANEP-Ghana based on the data received from monitors. Dr Gyamfi implored the political parties to express their opinions on national issues with decorum, while providing practical solutions to the many challenges that confronted them and abstain from hate speech as well as tribal politics. Mr Samuel Tettey, the Deputy Chairperson, Operations, Electoral Comm ission (EC) of Ghana, said the EC was committed to its principle of transparency, integrity and fairness as part of efforts to mitigate electoral violence. The EC, he said, was naturally inclined to support any initiative that created an enabling environment for electoral and political progress. It, therefore, commended WANEP, NPC, EU and other partners for the election violence monitoring analysis and mitigation project. Mr Ebenezer Ofosu Asiedu, a representative of ECOWAS, commended the organisers for advocating the tenets of participatory democracy with the sole objective of ensuring the maintenance of peace and stability in Ghana and the region at large. The event, he said, was timely as it took place at the time when the peace of West Africa was being put to a test. 'We are all aware of how elections when not managed well lead to disputes. The region recently witnessed coups and attempted coups, resulting from unresolved disagreements from elections. So, elections organisations have been a source of concern. 'Therefore, we see the meeting as appropriate and timely and to remind us of the need to keep vigilance and protect the peace and stability of the nation,' he added. Dr Festus Kofi Aubyn, the WANEP Regional Coordinator, Research and Capacity Building, said as part of WANEP's Electoral Violence Monitoring, Analysis and Mitigation project, WANEP had categorised all 275 constituencies into hotspots over those that are high-risk, risk and low-risk. Mr Henry Quartey, the Minister for the Interior, in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister, Madam Naana Eyiah Quansah, said periodic elections had become a central part of democracy. Concerns raised against the EC over the registration of new voters, violence arousing from voter registrations, industrial actions and intemperate language on traditional and new media were issues that needed redress with possible avenues, he said. He called on the private sector and the international community to stand with them in the noble task of ensuring peac e and human security. Source: Ghana News Agency

EC registers 1,381 persons, four challenged in two weeks at Keta

The Electoral Commission (EC) in Keta in the Volta Region, has registered 1,381 new voters with four challenged cases within the first two weeks of the ongoing Limited Voter Registration exercise. The 21-day exercise, which commenced on May 7, is expected to capture voters who are 18 years and above into the EC's database. Mr Philip Adzomani, the EC Officer at Keta, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the exercise had been smooth so far, regardless of the earlier challenges faced. 'Our team faced network challenges from the beginning of the exercise, and we thank God it has been fixed for the exercise to progress.' He urged the public to discourage young voters who have not attained 18 years and above to desist from attempting to register. 'I thanked God we are back to the online registration system. We turned down almost 20 applicants who were detected by our machines for attempting double registration.' Mr Adzomani urged all eligible citizens to get registered for the December elections. Mr Bernard Suka, a communication team member for the New Patriotic Party at Keta, expressed satisfaction with the exercise so far. He urged the public to support the EC for a successful registration exercise. Also, Mr Wonder Setsoafia Deynu, the Deputy Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress, on his part, appealed to the EC to extend the duration of the exercise to pave the way for many new registrants including persons living with disabilities to register. Some of the new registrants the GNA spoke to expressed satisfaction over the process so far. Source: Ghana News Agency

NCCE extends Inter-party Dialogue Committee meeting to Kumbungu District

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has extended its Inter-party Dialogue Committee (IPDC) meeting to the Kumbungu District of the Northern Region. The meeting brought together stakeholders including political party representatives, security personnel, youth groups, community leaders as well as faith-based organisations. The IPDC is being carried out under a project dubbed: 'Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PVCE)'. The PVCE is implemented by the NCCE with funding from the European Union (EU). At the meeting, the committee members were empowered to monitor ill-happenings in communities, and taught ways to fish out radicalised youth. Madam Janet Ameseya, Kumbungu District Director of NCCE, addressing the committee, said the NCCE worked with the theme: 'Together We Can Build Ghana, So Get Involved,' which included taking steps to prevent people leveraging on election activities to perpetuate violence. She said all forms of violence had the potential to derail the country's democr atic gains, underscoring the importance of engaging stakeholders on peace. She mentioned that any challenge to democracy in this year's election could have an adverse effect, which could embolden anti-democratic forces in the sub-region. Mr Aliyu Mohammed, Northern Regional Director, NCCE, said the Commission deemed it necessary to engage the IPDC, who represented a spectrum of the district given that election was a yearning affair that required peace. He said in ensuring peace before, during and after the elections, political parties must address issues in line with rules and regulations governing electoral processes, through the Electoral Commission. He acknowledged the Kumbungu District as one noted for peace during and after elections and encouraged the IPDC members to act towards maintaining peace in the area. He advised participants to follow due process in everything related to the elections in prioritising the country's peace. He said, 'while some countries lost peace during elections, Ghana has remained peaceful after eight elections.' Alhaji Abdul-Razak Saani, former Northern Regional Director of NCCE, who was the resource person for the event, said the IPDC was constituted to appreciate individual differences. He indicated that countries under extremists' attacks were once peaceful saying extremists took advantage of vulnerabilities to strike. He bemoaned the prevalence of chieftaincy disputes in the country noting that there were about 332 unresolved chieftaincy disputes. He reiterated that prolonged chieftaincy conflicts, and widespread youth unemployment could be a recipe for violent extremism, hence those issues must be tackled and addressed. He urged the IPDC to work collectively against ethnic marginalisation, which bred violence and pursued respect for everyone irrespective of tribe or ethnic group. Source: Ghana News Agency

Stakeholders pledge to lead crusade against violent extremism

Stakeholders and the youth in the Lambussie District have pledged to champion and lead the crusade against violent extremism in the area. They said they would be serving as a unified body in promoting peace, and resolving conflict before, during and after the December elections. They made the pledge in a communiqué after a day's training workshop organised by the Lambussie District Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on its European sponsored, Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PCVE) Phase I programme with focus in the eight Regions of Northern Ghana. The engagement held in Lambussie was aimed at bringing stakeholders and the youth together to form an Inter-Party Dialogue Committees (IPDC) who would serve as unifying bodies to promote peace and resolve conflicts with focus on monitoring and reporting all threats and vulnerabilities relating to violent extremism. Participants in the meeting included representatives from the Electoral Commission (EC), Political Partie s, Lambussie District Assembly, NCCE, CHRAJ, Traditional Authorities, Security Services, Faith Based Organisations, Civic Societies, the media, PWDs, Women and youth groups. Mr Taalaar Amatus, the Lambussie District Officer of the NCCE said activities of violent extremism had adversely affected Ghana's neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso and Niger, adding that it was imperative to train and educate the youth and other stakeholders in the Lambussie district, sharing borders with Burkina Faso. He highlighted that Ghana had successfully conducted both Presidential and Parliamentary elections eight times in succession and that the peaceful transfer of political power from one ruling party to an opposition party in 2000, 2008 and 2016 had been admired by all. Mr Amatus stressed a need for every well-meaning citizen to help maintain the country's democratic credentials to enhance political, economic and social stability. Mr Victor Nuworkpor, the Upper West Regional Director of the NCCE said the activi ties of violent extremism groups in the sub-region was a serious security threat to Ghana and that everyone must come on board and be vigilant in the fight against violent extremists activities. He urged citizens to help avert violence extremism by reporting any suspicious acts or activities before, during and after elections 2024 by resounding the National Security Slogan 'If you see something say something'. Reverend Father Boniface Tawel, the Catholic Priest of St. George's Parish, Piina speaking in a presentation on Monitoring and Reporting Threats and Vulnerabilities to Violent Extremisms, urged the public especially political party members to respect the right and political beliefs of each other to enable everyone exercise their democratic rights without fear or intimidation or violence. 'Our differences should not be a source of conflicts but rather a way to constructive dialogue. Violent extremism in this 2024 elections can be prevented around developing constructive personal group and political r elationships across ethnic, religious, class and constituency boundaries' he said. Source: Ghana News Agency

Facilitate appointment of Election 2024 running mate – NPP leadership told

The leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have been urged to facilitate the processes for the appointment of an Election 2024 running mate in the supreme interests of the party, and Ghanaians in general. Mr Richard Kwadwo Adu, a leading member of the NPP in the Wenchi constituency, gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Wenchi in the Bono Region. 'Describing an appointment of a running mate to pair the Vice President Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in the next general election as long overdue, Mr Adu said 'I think the choice of a running mate for our great party shouldn't be a problem, and so the party leadership must clear the hurdle now.' He said the Vice President, also the Election 2024 Presidential Candidate of the NPP had the prerogative right to choose a deserving running mate for the party, however, it is also prudent leadership of the party steps in to facilitate the processes in the supreme interest of the NPP and the voting population. As one of the political stron gholds of the NPP in the Bono Region, Mr Adu said the December 7, Presidential and Parliamentary elections remained crucial to the party grassroots in the Wenchi constituency, saying the party people were disappointed about what he described as delay in the appointment of the running mate. 'We have already commenced the electioneering campaign in the constituency, but our major problem is who to market as our running mate. In fact, the masses and the party people are desiring to know, and the party leadership must speed up the process', Mr Adu, also the founder of the 'G Boys' an emerging political group in the constituency, stated. The group is advocating the appointment of Dr Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, the Minister of Energy, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Manyhia as the Election 2024 running mate for the NPP. About six months into the 2024 General Election, Mr Adu said the NPP required a running mate, already marketed, with exceptional charisma, and proven records, saying 'that will make it easier for us to introduce him to the voting population'. 'In fact, that is why we have opted for and are advocating for, the appointment of Dr Opoku-Prempeh as the running mate. He has already marketed himself well in the political space and his appointment will subsequently enhance our election victory on December 7,' Mr Adu indicated. Source: Ghana News Agency