2020 Election: You must set up an independent body to probe results – UN Int’l peace advocate

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The Parliament of Ghana must set up an independent body to look into the results of the 7 December 2020 polls so as to restore calm in the country, Bishop Samuel Ben Owusu of Pottersville Church International and a Representative of the UN International World Peace Advocates, has suggested.

“We have to be very cautious about the pockets of demonstrations taking place across the country by members of the opposition National Democratic Congress”, he told Kwame Appiah Kubi on CTV’s morning show Dwabre Mu on Monday, 21 December 2020.

He said the disturbances pose a threat to Ghana’s peace, stressing: “The best way is to have an independent body look into the matter immediately”.

Out of the 13,119,460 total valid votes cast, the incumbent, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), polled 6,730,587 votes representing 51.302 per cent.

His closest contender, the presidential candidate of the biggest opposition party, former President John Dramani Mahama, polled 6,213,182 representing 47.359 per cent.

The NDC and its presidential candidate, former President John Mahama, have rejected the results as declared by the Chair of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Jean Mensa and have vowed to prove that she “stole” their victory for President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr Mahama has called for an independent audit of the results and said he will not concede until it is proven beyond doubt that he lost the poll.

In the interim, the party has held demonstrations across the country to drum home its rejection of the results.

The ‘No Mahama, No Peace’ demonstrations have taken place in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, parts of the Western Region among others.

The demonstrators have, in some cases, clashed with the police, hurled crude weapons at law enforcers and burnt tyres to vent their anger.

Meanwhile, the National Peace Council (NPC) has urged the NDC to call its supporters to order so they stop vandalising and destroying property, as they protest and march.

In a press statement issued by its Chairman, Rev Dr Ernest Adu-Gyamfi, the Peace Council asked the two major political parties, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), to “uphold the peace documents they have signed by calling on their supporters, to refrain from acts of violence and vigilantism after the December elections”.

The National Peace Council, therefore, encouraged the NDC, in particular, and whoever harbours any election-related grievances, “to use the laid-down processes to address their electoral disputes”.

The National Peace Council commended the Electoral Commission for the efficient and effective conduct of the elections.

Read the full statement below:

PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The National Peace Council wishes to thank the almighty God for seeing Ghana through the eighth general elections in the Fourth Republic and to commend Ghanaians for the peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections on Monday 7 December 2020.

We further, wish to commend the Electoral Commission for a good work done which ensured the efficiency of the Biometric devices used during the voting process.

The Council is grateful to all the Political Parties, the National Elections Security Taskforce, International Observation Missions, Domestic Election Observers, Civil Society Organisation, Religious Bodies, and the Media for their independent, and objective assessment of the electoral processes which contributed immensely to the peaceful conduct of the elections.

The near absence of political vigilante activities in the flashpoints identified by the Police, the Electoral Commission and the National Peace Council before and after the December 7 election is commendable. This was indeed a demonstration of the commitment by the Political Parties to the Roadmap and the Code of Conduct which they signed after the dialogue to eradicate political vigilantism in Ghana.

The National Peace Council nonetheless regrets the pockets of violent incidents including protest actions that were recorded during and after the collation and the declaration of the election results, some of which resulted in injuries and fatalities. For example, a Joint Operation Centre of the National Election Security Taskforce recorded 61 election and post-election-related incidents from 7th to 9th December 2020. Twenty-one (21) of these were election-related violence with six involving gunshots which, unfortunately, culminated into the death of some citizens. Notable among the constituencies that recorded violence included Odododiodoo, Savelugu, Ablekuma Central, Awutu Senya East, Upper Denkyira and Techiman South.

While we express our deepest condolences to the bereaved families, we strongly condemn these incidents and call on the Police and other investigative bodies to hold to account the perpetrators in line with the laws of the land.

In the interest of preserving Ghana’s peace and democracy credentials, the Council calls on all those who are contesting the outcome of the elections to do so within the legal framework and guided by the 1992 Constitution, Political Parties Act (2002), Case laws based on the 2012 Supreme Court election petition and the Regulations 127 (CI) among others.

Besides, the National Peace Council would like to draw the attention of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) about their public commitment to peace and non-violence when their Presidential Candidates ahead of the December 7, 2020 Presidential & Parliamentary Elections signed the Peace Pact on December 4, 2020. It is also worthwhile to refer to the admonition of His Lordship the Chief Justice at the event, where he called on all those who may have grievances emanating from the elections to seek legal redress at the Court instead of on the streets.

It is from this backdrop that the National Peace Council encourages particularly the NDC and any other politician with grievances to use the laid down processes to address their electoral disputes.

The Council recalls the resort to the courts to seek redress when the NPP was dissatisfied with the 2012 general election, which resulted in rather positive outcomes that led to significant reforms in Ghana’s electoral system. In the same vein, the National Peace Council encourages the NDC to follow suit to deepen our democratic gains rather than taking to the streets; a potential threat that can spark post-election violence and mar the entire peaceful election process.

In pursuit of the above observations the NPC makes the following recommendations:

The media should be sensitive about potential escalation of violence and approach their work with circumspection and professionalism.

The Police should enforce the laws without fear or favour and investigate all crimes committed to ensure justice. They are encouraged to deal strictly according to law, with those who may want to use the genuine concern of electoral disputants to foment trouble in the country.

The National Democratic Congress and New Patriotic Party should uphold the peace documents they have signed by calling on their supporters, to refrain from acts of violence and vigilantism after the December elections.

The National Democratic Congress, in particular, should restrain its followers from acts of vandalism and destruction and encourage them about the party’s willingness to resort to legal processes in addressing their grievances.

All Religious and Faith-Based Organizations should continue to urge their followers to avoid acts of violence and to resort to nonviolent mechanisms for addressing their electoral disputes.

The Council calls on the National House of Chiefs and all our respected Traditional Rulers to condemn any acts of violence within their traditional areas to secure peace after the elections.

Finally, the National Peace Council appeals to the general public to continue to exercise restraints in addressing any outstanding issues in order to preserve the peace and stability of Ghana.

God bless our homeland Ghana

Source: Class FM