Labour must be at the forefront of electoral process – John Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama has assured Ghanaians that he would ensure a credible, fair and peaceful Election 2016 in furtherance of his mandate as President and Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
He said even though Ghana’s democracy was evolving, the country could still be counted among the leading democracies in the world with respect to governance.http://ghanapoliticsonline.com
President Mahama gave the assurance during the May Day Celebration in Wa under the theme: “Election 2016: The Role of Workers in Securing Peaceful Elections for National Development”.
“Ours is a country governed by law with a free, independent, viable and vibrant media; an unfettered freedom and fearless judiciary and a country with respect for fundamental human rights,” he said.
President Mahama said democracy was the country’s way of life and that Organised Labour, with a strong civil society, had a role to deepen Ghana’s democratic consolidation.
“Regular, free and fair elections have become a part of our democratic ethos and culture. I, therefore, urge Organised Labour to be at the forefront of the electoral process and become vigilant observers at each stage to complement the work of the electoral officers in safeguarding the integrity of the polls,” he said.
Mr Kofi Asamoah, the Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), underscored the need for workers and their unions to dedicate themselves to free, fair and peaceful elections in November while drawing attention to critical election-related issues.
He said the aftermath of the 2012 elections, including the long election petition, called on all workers to reflect hard and deep on election 2016 as the stakes were very high.
Mr. Asamoah expressed optimism that no matter what happened on November 7, the skies would never fall adding that Ghana must remain united and strengthened for the task ahead.
The TUC Secretary General said, however, that optimism was not enough adding that there were real issues that needed to be addressed by all stakeholders including the Electoral Commission (EC), the Government, political parties, the media and citizens of the country.
The most urgent of those issues, he said, was the simmering mistrust among the stakeholders particularly between some political parties and the EC.
“We appreciate the enormity of the task ahead of the Commission, and we appreciate the efforts it has made so far. We call on the Commission to remain resolute and faithful to its constitutional mandate,” he said.
Mr. Asamoah said: “The Commission must jealously guard its independence and neutrality. At the same time, in guarding its independence, the Commission must remember that it remains subject and accountable to the good people of Ghana.”
He said it was absolutely necessary that in an election year such as this, the Commission avoided unnecessary controversies and be seen to be absolutely impartial.
He advised it to work diligently to build confidence in itself, noting that a compromised electoral process was a recipe for disaster.
The TUC General Secretary said government had a crucial role to play in terms of timely release of funds to the Commission and urged government to continue to support the Commission in whatever form legally to discharge its mandate effectively.
Mr. Asamoah urged President Mahama to endeavour to oversee a peaceful election in which Ghana won adding that this would be a far greater win for him regardless of the outcome.
He appealed to competing parties and their candidates to address social and economic issues including the unbearable cost of living, unemployment, poverty, housing, sanitation and transportation.
He urged them to “tell Ghanaians how they were going to take Ghana out of the failed International Monitory Fund/World Bank sponsored policies,” noting that this political season offered opportunity to have that debate.
Mr. Asamoah said the opportunity should not be wasted by diverting attention to trivial issues and that this election must not be about issues that brought division and undermined national unity and cohesion.
He entreated Ghanaians to vote for candidates with greatest ideas about the creation of jobs, improvement in incomes and access to housing, education, health, electricity, water and sanitation.
He called on civil society and the media to join hands to place those issues on the political agenda and banish forever the politics of trivialities.