Ghana has enjoyed relatively peaceful elections since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1992. As in all elections across the world, there have been some challenges but our elections have been successful so far.
There is however no doubt that as we draw closer to the elections, the political temperature in the country has risen quite steeply and with it, an atmosphere of uncomfortable anxiety.
The desire to win the people’s mandate should be an exercise that is pursued in a peaceful, decorous and all-embracing manner.
Unfortunately with exactly one week to go before the election, the political campaign rhetoric is strewn with invectives, threats and counter-threats.
There have been serious incidents of inter-party violence and these tensions continue to linger. Ghana cannot afford to derail the constitutional process it embraced some 25 years ago.
Eminent persons, political leaders, security agencies, institutions of state and the Electoral Commission have a combined responsibility to protect the peace and unity of this country.
The electorate needs to have confidence not only in the political parties but also in the security services, and the Electoral Commission. This cannot be compromised.
Even as we take note of the military head’s recent warning it’s important to emphasise the need for us, especially officers and the rank and file to be on the lookout for the possibility of being misused.
The Armed Forces has its reputation to guard. Intimidating posturing must be avoided at all costs in order to allow the will of the people to prevail.
Let us refrain from the use of harsh language. We are capable of being firm, but fair without being abusive, threatening or aggressive.
The use of threatening or menacing language at this point in time can be very ill placed and counter-productive. The head of state has wisely declared that no blood will be shed in his quest to stay on.
We have a few days to ensure that the process of electing a President and Members of Parliament is devoid of explosive, foul-scented gas.
While cautioning all stakeholders to operate above reproach, I also enjoin all Ghanaians to remain resolute and vigilant and ensure that the electoral process is transparent, free and fair.
Signed: Jerry John Rawlings
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