Ghana Catholic Bishops Urge State Institutions to Ensure Peaceful Elections
As Ghana prepares to go to the polls in about four months, to elect a president and 275 legislators to steer the affairs of the country for the next four-year, the Catholic Bishops of the West African country say that some institutions of state bear greater responsibility including the Presidency to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections.
“The Presidency holds in its hands the people’s trust, and must ensure that citizens live in conditions of adequate peace and security, and also ensure a level playing field for all contestants, political parties and candidates in the December 2020 elections, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference said in a pastoral Letter issued on August 10, 2020.
According to the Bishops in their collective Letter, “fellow citizens, now, ensuring free, fair, peaceful and transparent elections, even in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a collective responsibility of all Ghanaians.” Ghana as a democratic nation is known to have successfully conducted several elections in the Fourth Republic, and, as a country have learned from the mistakes and successes of the past that is expected to make the impending ones in December even more successful.
To maintain these democratic laurels, the Bishops were of the opinion that the Electoral Commission of Ghana also has the mandate “to ensure an electoral process that is free, fair and transparent for all political parties and candidates in order to prevent people who may feel unfairly treated resorting to violence.”
“The Security Agencies, especially the National Election Security Task Force (NESTF), whose special duty is to ensure that the nation goes to the 2020 elections and comes out of it in peace and tranquility,” the Bishops noted.
According to the Bishops “We Ghanaians pride ourselves on being a peaceful and peace-loving people. We appreciate all efforts that bring us happiness, peace and joy, even if in the process we have to suffer a little or make some sacrifice.”
Without saying that we cannot achieve perfection in one day, the Bishops appealed to Political Parties to ensure the peaceful comportment of their members and supporters, stop vigilantism, the politics of insults, vote buying and selling, and support their candidates, both women and men, to win parliamentary seats.”
“We must admit our limitations, fully aware that what matters is that we do not lose hope or give up our struggle to consolidate our political gains and improve upon our democratic credentials. “
They called on Faith Based Organizations and the Clergy to desist from openly taking part in partisan politics, from preaching predictions of election results, and from pronouncing prophecies of electoral results, the death of public personalities.
“Civil Society Organizations should intensify voter and civic education, help monitor the election processes and conduct, call attention to errant behaviours and whatever would undermine the noble values of peace, tranquility and political development of the nation.
“We appeal to all our fellow citizens to uphold the highest and noblest of ethics and good conduct, and, of course, to observe religiously all the COVID-19 hygienic protocols. Please, let us all stay safe to serve God and Country.”