Posted by: rumnet | July 6, 2012

NORGAID Inaugurates Body to Ensure Peaceful Campaigning, Polls in December

NOGAID Inaugurates Body to Ensure Peaceful Campaigning, Polls in December

(Published in the July 2012 edition of the advocate)

By Staff Writer

It is almost becoming certain that the use of intemperate language or unguarded statements by activists of the two main political parties – NPP and NDC – in the media are the most likely factors that could eventually lead Ghana to a civil war in this year’s elections if leadership of the two political groupings do not whip their communicators into line.

This belligerent approach to political communication according to media analysts has seeped down to the nooks and crannies of almost all the constituencies in the country in such a way that foot-soldiers, party officials and apparatchiks, at that level, are taking cue and falling over themselves to outdo one another in this despicable quest.

The Northern Region is one area that has numerous hotspots as a result of chieftaincy, land, political and tribal conflicts over the last few decades. More often than not, most of these conflicts which are dormant or rarely resurge, are resurrected by self-seeking individuals or groups believed to be affiliated to the aforementioned political parties in every election year for their own parochial interest.

In order to preempt any unforeseen civil war emerging from Ghana’s December 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections which it escaped from in 2008, Northern Ghana Aid (NORGAID) with financial assistance from STAR-Ghana, DFID, European Union, DANIDA and USAID, has inaugurated a project dubbed “Northern Region 2012 Multi-Party Democratic Governance Support Project.”

According to the Executive Director of Rural Media Network (RUMNET) and Consultant for the project, Abdallah Kassim, it aimed to introduce Political Communication to the various political parties to enable them embark on healthy and focused campaigns that would be issue-based rather than recriminatory and vituperative.

The project he said would do this by setting up a Civic Campaigns Report Council that would deploy trained monitors and observers to various public political party events- rallies and meetings- in 15 constituencies to gather information, especially remarks and comments made therein and report back to the Council.

Explaining further, Mr. Kassim said the Council would analyse the reports, critique the remarks/comments and put it in the public domain through radio and a newsletter. “The critique will serve as a form of feedback to political activists on their comments/remarks from which they could draw lessons”, he stressed.

In addition to the aforesaid, he indicated that the project would also organise a Political Communication workshop for the communication teams and other functionaries of the various political parties saying “It will build their skills in how to persuade an audience to adopt their (political parties) viewpoint and to act on that viewpoint by casting votes or otherwise demonstrating support for their parties.”

Mr. Abdallah Kassim urged all of the various political parties in the Northern Region to relinquish the politics of insults, lies and violence for a more progressive one that would tell how their parties would put food on the tables of Ghanaians enable them live in dignity.

The Executive Chairman of NORGAID, Mustapha Sanah, also observed that the turbulent history of the Northern Region in terms of chieftaincy, political and ethnic conflicts could not be shelved in terms of the collateral damage it had caused the area. “The Dagbon crisis is one key problem that has dragged on for over 10 years to the detriment of peace and development and I believe that no person or organisation interested in the progress of the region will like the situation to remain unresolved” he remarked.

He maintained that it was the collective responsibility of Northerners to take the necessary steps to ensure that the December 7 general elections presented a golden platform to redeem the dented image of the region by ensuring peace during, before and after the presidential and parliamentary polls.

According to him, Northern region has extraordinary security and development challenges and it would be too expensive not to safeguard the relative peace during this political campaigning process.

Mr. Sanah mentioned that members of the Council were to ensure that the political parties did not compromise national unity by shying away from intemperate language that could threaten the fragile peace in the region. Adding that, members would have the platform to counsel, caution or name and shame any political party or parties that sought to sow seed of disunity, conflict and retrogression in a region that deserves only peace and stability and nothing else.

The Executive Chairman of NORGAID therefore urged the political parties to carry out their campaign in line with the political parties’ code of conduct for 2012 in order not to endanger the peace in the Northern Region.

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