Peace Council urged to maintain warning groups

 Most Rev (Prof) Asante

Most Rev (Prof) Asante

Identified hotspots across the country were relatively peaceful during the 2016 polls due to the establishment of National and Regional Early Warning and Response Groups (NEEWARGs/REEWARGs) by the National Peace Council (NPC).

Research conducted by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) with support from the NPC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has established.

The Council has been urged to explore the possibility of linking the groups with the regional coordinating councils and district assemblies for funding and the provision of other logistical support to strengthen their activities to consolidate the successes chalked.

The research, dubbed, ‘Preventing electoral violence in selected hotspots in Ghana during the 2016 elections: Strategies employed by the National Peace Council’, documented and assessed the effectiveness of the strategies adopted by the Council to maintain peace in selected hotspots during the elections.

It recommended the Council and its stakeholders focus and strategise on how to address post-election violence since issues after elections were often overlooked though they remained a major security threat.

The research team further encouraged the Council to intensify its peace education in schools and communities by linking up with civil society organisations (CSOs) and the Information Service Department (ISD) at the local level.

Presenting the research findings, Dr. Patrick Osei-Kufuor, member of the research team said the study was an evaluation exercise to unearth the activities that worked to provide lessons for subsequent elections.

He noted that the 2016 elections were generally peaceful without the violence that characterised previous elections and their work sought to identify the contributions of the NPC in achieving peace during the general election.

Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the NPC, indicated that choosing the path of peace, dialogue and non-violence in a pluralistic society such as Ghana was a necessity.

According to him, a society of diverse ethnic, religious and political identities was inextricably linked to conflict at the individual and group levels and people must be willing to cooperate and act collectively to avoid it.

Professor H Amuquandoh, Dean, Faculty of Social Science, UCC, reiterated that efforts to ensure peace could not be left in the hands of few people but a collaborative responsibility towards lasting peace in the country. -GNA

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