A Senior Lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana has cautioned that the mobilisation of political party support based on ethnic, religious and regional lines would have serious implications for the country if allowed to be abused.
According to Dr. Seidu Alidu, the country’s ability over the years, to contain this practice, which reduced elections into fault lines, did not mean it could not “explode” and affect the political dispensation.
Speaking at a day’s workshop for selected media practitioners in the Central Region on peaceful elections, he urged media practitioners to be alert and play their gate-keeping role effectively to avert violence in the elections.
Organised by the National Media Commission with support from theUnited Nations Development Programmme (UNDP), the workshop is the seventh in the series of regional engagements, aimed at awakening the conscientiousness of media practitioners as stakeholders in the elections.
Dr. Alidu said about 500 electoral hotspots identified in the country, was indicative of what could happen if issues of violence was taken lightly, citing incidents of electoral violence since the 1992 elections.
He said the stakes in the upcoming elections was higher as it was in the last election for presidential candidates of the two major political parties stressing on the need for all political stakeholders to work towards peaceful elections.
He said the tendency to be violent and make peace was inherent of every individual and that it was important to appeal to one’s peace-loving side when provoked instead of following the instinct to react in a violent manner.
Dr. Alidu condemned the practice whereby the main opposition party and other civil society organisations were bastardising the Electoral Commission with some personalities making derogatory statements against its chairperson, Mrs. Charlotte Osei.
He said this practice was a recipe for chaos as it was creating doubts in the minds of the electorate, a situation which would not augur well for the country and therefore urged them to have faith in the commission and give it the needed support to work effectively.
He reminded media practitioners of the critical role required of them in the success of the 2016 elections and appealed to them to critically examine the content of their programmes and avoid intemperate utterances.
Some journalists expressed concern about the spate at which some of their colleagues had become “puppets” for political parties and urged them to uphold the ethics and standards of the profession to bring sanity on the airwaves and promote peace
From Jonathan Donkor, Elmina