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Free and fair elections will strengthen national cohesion – Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo says a free, fair and transparent election is the bedrock for strengthening cohesion amongst Ghanaians

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the conduct of a free, fair and transparent election, one whose result is beyond dispute, forms a good basis for strengthening cohesion amongst Ghanaians and preventing needless disputations.

Speaking on Monday 14 September 2020 at the annual conference of the Ghana Bar Association, a virtual event, President Akufo-Addo explained that since 1992, the conduct of the country’s elections has evolved significantly.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the current multiplicity of media organisations and the power of social media, the existence of transparent ballot boxes, the decentralised nature of tallying and tabulation, and the mode of voter verification have engendered increasing trust and confidence by citizens in the process of electing leaders.

President Akufo-Addo and Anthony Forson, president of the Ghana Bar Association, at the Bar Conference

The president explained that taken together with the compilation of a new voters’ register for use in the December 2020 elections, “All of these enhanced processes have strengthened the cohesion of the nation. They have also repudiated as fallacious the contentions expressed at various times of our history that democratic governance would breed instability and ethnic conflict.”

Dignity of the citizen

He continued, “There have actually been those who went as far as to state that democracy was inherently alien to our culture and social make-up. The continuing success of the Fourth Republic provides the most effective response to this unfortunate viewpoint.”

With electoral disputes wreaking havoc in some African countries, President Akufo-Addo said that Ghana has been spared such incidents. He added: “We have the good sense of the Ghanaian people to thank for this, and we must continue to act as checks and balances for one another.”

Nonetheless, the president noted that Ghanaians cannot and must not take this good fortune for granted. He urged all candidates, voters and citizens to conduct “ourselves in a manner that keeps us together as one people, irrespective of our ethnic, religious, gender or political differences and affiliations. The Ghana Project cannot afford ethnic agitations and sectarian pronouncements.”

The president was of the belief that the pressing challenge for Ghana is negotiating satisfactorily the interface between elections and democratic governance, institution-building and development, poverty, jobs and economic growth, the overriding objective being to enrich the dignity of the Ghanaian.

“There are many examples of countries around the world where that stable period of constitutional government and intelligent management of the economy led to general prosperity. We in Ghana can profitably emulate them, for we can make it, if we work at it,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo and the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, at the ceremony

President Akufo-Addo expressed his delight that “the political class and stakeholders have agreed upon the necessity, in the face of the pandemic, to hold the December general elections as scheduled to bolster the evolution of our constitutional order, and maintain the culture where executive and legislative authority are exercised in the Fourth Republic only by duly elected officials. Ghanaian democracy will be the stronger for that shared commitment.”

He reassured members of the Bar Association that his government is making unstinting efforts to ensure the peace and stability of the nation as Ghana enters the last three months of the election campaign.

“Ghana has rightly earned a reputation as the pacesetter in democratic governance on the continent, a reputation I am determined to uphold and, indeed, enhance prior to, during and after the 7 December elections,” President Akufo-Addo said.

To this end, he appealed for the co-operation and assistance of all citizens, especially members of the Bar Association, saying: “We have all to work together to create the environment that will allow the Ghanaian people to make their decision on 7 December in freedom, peace and security. It is their right.”

In conclusion, the president said: “When my time is up – hopefully, after four more years – I want to hand over to my successor and the sovereign people of Ghana a country that is greater, fairer, stronger, more cohesive, more prosperous and more united than I met it in 2017. This is the solemn undertaking to which I have committed myself.”

Wilberforce Asare / Asaase Radio

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