I am pleased to be part of this event that seeks to highlight the importance of peace in our country as we go to the polls on Monday, 7th December, and I thank the conveners for the invitation to be here and say a few words this morning.
This is the third time I have participated in this ceremony – the first two as Leader of the Opposition, and the third as President of the Republic. On previous occasions, I have held to my part of the peace pact, and, on this third occasion as President of the Republic, I will do the same.
I stand here as the representative of the New Patriotic Party, a political party founded on the strong belief that Ghana is best governed under a constitutional arrangement that guarantees multi-parties. We come from a long tradition that believes in disputes being settled by superior arguments, and not by violence. It has been a long and tortuous journey that has brought this nation finally to this Fourth Republic and the consensus of a multi-party democracy.
We believe in elections, we have always done and we, in the NPP, can safely claim without any fear of contradiction that every improvement that has brought more widespread credibility to our electoral process has been at our instigation. (A younger generation might not even be aware that the use in the electoral process of transparent ballot boxes and photo-ID cards were resisted.)
We believe in an electoral process that is genuinely free and fair, and in which the people can have confidence. We believe in an electoral process in which the losers will feel they have been in a fair fight, and would willingly congratulate the winners, and go back to regroup to seek more persuasive ways to convince the electorate.
It is in the interest of the political parties that there is not only an absence of violence, but that there is no tension, and there is a truly peaceful atmosphere throughout the country. I would like to call on the security agencies to be up and doing in their work, in making make sure that the atmosphere in the country is one conducive for the conduct of a fair and transparent process.
The strictures as to the consequences of the Ayawaso West Wuogon elections maybe an opportunity for all of us to look at this issue. For myself, I do not want to use this platform to engage in controversy, but merely to state that whatever were the acceptable recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry have been faithfully adhered to by the Government. The security services in the Volta Region are there to respond to the well-documented secessionist activities, and not to engage in any imaginary intimidation of the people of the Region.
The best manifesto policies and promises would come to naught if there is no peace. You can assemble the sharpest brains and the greatest workaholics to run a government, if there is no peace, your promises remain promises, and you can even have a combination of the best policies, the brightest and most hardworking and incorruptible people to run the government, if there is no peace, you cannot deliver on your promises.
I would say, therefore, that we the politicians and political parties have the most to lose if there is no peace. I dare say there are some organisations and some individuals whose very existence depend on continuing turmoil in Africa, and African nations being led to believe they would remain poor, dependent and underdeveloped forever.
I do not ask that we behave like the famous three monkeys, and see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, but I do not think we help our situation very much when all we see is evil, all we hear is evil, and all we speak is evil.
I am not suggesting that we cover up our failings in any way; we are nowhere near where we should be, there is still poverty, young people remain at risk, and the public purse is not as properly guarded as it could be. But there is a lot that we can and should be proud of, and these too should be part of the narrative.
In the immediate matters that concern all of us, I would say we have conducted admirably the electoral process thus far. In the midst of a global pandemic, the Electoral Commission has compiled a credible voters’ register. The Special Voting process passed off peacefully, with all political parties happy with the process.
It does not help that a would-be Nreputable media organisation puts out a totally false story that the EC had been caught with illegally printed excess ballots. If we are concerned about peace, such media outlets should be condemned by all. Such deliberate malice heightens tensions and incites passions unnecessarily.
We, in the NPP, want a credible election, conducted in a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. We are certain we have a track record that will make Ghanaians vote to renew our mandate. Just as it was in 2016, we want this victory to be sweet and incontestable.
I have said that we believe in elections, and I am happy to give my word that we shall accept the verdict of the people of Ghana. Above all, I pledge that the peace, unity and safety of Ghana will be our primary consideration.
May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.
I thank you for your attention.