The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on Thursday stressed the importance of the Political Parties Code of Conduct, prepared and signed by the stakeholders to avoid violence during elections.
The IEA, in its report on the September 29 bye- election at Chereponi in the Northern Region, ruled that the two main parties - National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) breached the Code in the run-up to the vote.
It said the NDC, by organising its rally on the same day and venue as the scheduled NPP rally, violated the section which said, "no two political parties shall hold public meetings or rallies in the same locality on the same day, if such meetings or rallies are likely to be so close to each other that a possibility of creating conflict arises."
The NPP, by taking the law in its own hands with the intention of preventing the NDC from holding its rally violated the section of the Code which states:"Political parties, candidates, agents and party workers shall not obstruct, disrupt, break up or cause to be broken up meetings or rallies organised by other political parties."
IEA said the action taken by NPP supporters also contravened the section which stated that "political parties, their members or agents must not destroy, remove or deface or in any way tamper with paraphernalia, logos, symbols, handbills and publicity materials of other parties."
The bye- election was won by Mr Samuel Abdulai Jahanyite of the NDC with 8,239 votes representing 51.25 per cent of the votes. Mr Abubakari Aminu Gariba of the NPP polled 7,416 votes (46.13 per cent), Jabali Namana of the People's National Convention polled 176 votes (1.09 per cent), Yaw Issa of the New Vision Party had 139 votes (0.8676 per cent) and Eliasu Fai of the Democratic People's Party had 106 votes (0.66 per cent).Voter turnout was 71.28 per cent.
The IEA said even though calm actually prevailed at the end of the last day of campaigning, the violence should have been nipped in the bud if the police notice granting permission to the NPP to hold its rally had been adhered to and the full police detail of 1,000 personnel had been present at the venue from the onset, at least two days to polling day.
"In their numbers the police could easily and swiftly have brought the situation under control. It is important that security agencies act timeously without fear of favour at all times, to ensure that acts of intimidation and thuggery are nipped in the bud."
The IEA said, however, commended the Northern Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Angwutogbe Awuni and the police personnel "for the level of professionalism they exhibited on the polling day culminating in a peaceful bye- election".
The IEA said the election in several ways contributed positively to the giant strides in Ghana's democracy notwithstanding the pre-election spots of violence.
It said democracy was an evolving process in the country and Ghana was yet to be rooted firmly so stakeholders should allow it to thrive. The IEA urged political parties and civil society organisations to continuously educate the electorate on the 2008 Political Parties Code of Conduct while all leaders of parties and politicians should remain faithful and committed to the Code. The IEA urged the media and electorate to hold politicians accountable to the Code.
|Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.|