The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) has cautioned political parties and radio stations in the country against announcing their own election results, to avoid chaos during the December polls.
“It is only the Electoral Commission (EC) that is empowered to announce the results of the elections, so we ask all political parties, radio stations, the social media, and indeed everyone, to refrain from announcing any results before they are declared by the commission,” it stated.
“We are one people as Ghanaians and we cannot accept that elections should divide us, Let us therefore safeguard our unity, growth, development and destiny as one people,” the bishops said in a communiqué issued at the end of its annual plenary assembly held in Tamale, the Northern regional capital.
The communiqué, signed by the Most Reverend Philip Naamah, the Catholic Archbishop of Tamale, and newly elected President of GCBC, noted that political elections had left behind “unhealed scars of violence and disrespect for rule of law.”
“The consequence of these acts has not only unleashed irrecoverable cost on those nations but also miserable plagues of instability and insecurity,” it added.
The conference urged politicians to be civil in their language, entreating them to avoid trading insults and attacks during political campaigns and on platforms.
It called on party leaders, parliamentary and presidential candidates to conduct themselves honourably and to respect their opponents, both in their utterances and actions.
The communiqué commended the EC for all the measures it has put in place to ensure peaceful, free, fair, transparent and credible elections, and urged the government to provide it with all the logistics for the elections.
It urged “Ghanaians to repose trust and confidence in the work of the Electoral Commission throughout the period of elections.”
The statement condemned the “phenomenon of vote buying,” and urged registered voters to be vigilant as they exercise their franchise, while appealing to parents to discourage their underaged children from voting as well as non Ghanaians.
The conference noted that “the culture of impunity which has been manifested in sections of the Ghanaian society by some individuals and groups contributes to high level of lawlessness in the country,” and asked the security agencies to discharge their “duty with despatch and without fear or favour.”
It commended successive governments and various non-governmental organisations for their efforts of promoting peace in the Northern Region, a region perceived as most vulnerable to diverse conflicts.
The conference noted that it was heart-warming to learn that “here in Tamale and elsewhere in Ghana, Muslims interact peacefully with Christians in schools, hospitals and various places of work.”
It also urged the media to uphold the highest journalistic values and ethics in their reportage of the electoral process adding “news stories should not be targeted at causing disgrace or embarrassment to personalities, especially where it is clear that such reportage may trigger disaffection or incite violence.”
The conference entreated chiefs to “protect the integrity of their stools and skins by refraining from meddling in partisan politics to the displeasure of their subjects, as if to say the party they associate with or endorse is representative of their subjects’ choice as well.”
By Times Reporter