The Ashanti Regional Peace Council has held a forum on consensus dialogue and advocacy on political vigilantism as part of efforts to forestall peace ahead of the 2020 general elections.
The forum, which was held at Konongo-Odumase in the Asante-Akim Central Municipality was also attended by participants drawn from Bosome Freho, Asante-Akim South, Asante-Akim North, Sekyere Afram Plains and Sekyere Kumawu.
It was attended by representatives of political parties, youth groups, artisans, the media and traditional authorities.
Organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the forum sought to deepen the process of dialogue in finding a sustainable solution to the disturbing phenomenon of violent vigilante activities.
Prof Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the NPC said violent vigilante activities had become a security concern to Ghana’s democracy, especially during elections.
He said conflict was inevitable in any human endeavour and that it was imperative as a people to guard against its escalation to destructive levels especially when the key actors sought to govern the nation.
The NPC chairman reminded politicians that they needed a peaceful atmosphere to be able to execute their programmes and policies and must therefore commit themselves to the peace process.
“Competition for political and other public offices should be conducted in a manner with the view of winning power to manage resources for socio-economic development of the people” he emphasized.
He said politics should therefore not create systems that had the potential to destroy not only the resources of the state, but more importantly the peace and harmony that had prevailed for many years.
He said Ghana had come a long way from its violent past and underlined the need to embrace the multi-party democracy she voluntarily adopted since 1992.
The Rt. Rev. Christopher Nyarko Andam, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Council in a speech read on his behalf said Ghana had since 1992 engaged in competitive elections that resulted in uninterrupted transfers of power from one party to another.
That notwithstanding, he said, Ghana’s democracy remained uncertain as it continued to grapple with persistent challenges that threatened to subvert peace and security.
“Perhaps the most insidious of these challenges is one posed by political vigilantism and election related violence, which invariably accompanies all national elections in Ghana” he stated.
He said the Ashanti Region, like any other region was vulnerable to intermittent communal violence, chieftaincy disputes, electoral violence, youth clashes as well as demonstrations and called on all stakeholders to collectively fight such conflicts in the region.