The Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Executive Secretary of the National Peace Council has charged the Electoral Commission and other stakeholders involved in elections to play their expected roles for the country to continue to enjoy its peace.

Suallah Abdallah Quandah says this will ensure we have a democracy that is practised in a peaceful environment and not a democracy that will lead to violent conflict.

He made the call in an interview with Joy News on the sidelines of a special Town Hall Meeting organised by the Sunyani Municipal Assembly on the upcoming elections.

The event was attended by chiefs, students, market women, religious bodies and town folk.

Elections, he said, should bring peace and development to the people but violence associated with elections is on the increase in Ghana, oftentimes due to entrenched positions or the polarised political space. 

Peace Council meeting

To reverse the growing worrying trend, Mr Quandah said, “enhancing the knowledge of citizens in the practice of democracy will increase the essence of embracing violent free democracy. Less knowledge of electoral laws and processes also leads some citizens into acts that are anti-democracy”.

“Stakeholders, including voters, security agencies and the Electoral Commission must be seen discharging their mandates devoid of traces of bias”, he added. 

He reiterated that stability and development can only be achieved if an enabling environment is created for the practice of democracy.

“We can get development in an organized society by building the capacity of people to participate in democracy,” Mr Quandah said.

Ahead of the upcoming Referendum to amend Clause 3 of Article 55 of the 1992 Constitution, District Assembly and Unit Committee elections, the Peace Council Executive Secretary said more public education is needed on what the election seeks to achieve.

Peace Council meeting

“Our problem in this country is, we only intensify Civic Education when elections are close, but it should be continuous to ensure citizens know why they have to do it, where and how to do it”, he advised.

The Bono Regional Minister, Evelyn Kumi Richardson, a former assemblywoman and MCE for the Sunyani Municipal Assembly said, we cannot continue lying to ourselves about the deep-rooted partisan activities and considerations at the various assemblies. 

“It is about time we lift the veil and allow individual citizens and those on the tickets of political parties to contest for positions in our local governance”, she said, adding, it will encourage local participation and accountability.

The Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, Justina Owusu Banahene also told Joy News, the electorate must understand the issues at stake ahead of the December 17 elections. 

She said as part of the awareness creation, the Assembly is using all available platforms including moving within the communities and market places to disseminate the information on the need to vote yes during the referendum.

Representatives from the Information Service and NCCE took turns during the Special Town Hall meeting to explain and demonstrate the process of voting and the need to understand the issues and why they should be part of the upcoming elections.