The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has called on political parties, youth groups, and Traditional Authorities to be cautious in acts that would invite violent extremists into the country to cause havoc and mar the peace being enjoyed.

Ms Kathleen Addy, Chairperson of the Commission, said though Ghana had a proven track record of holding successful elections since the start of the fourth Republic, it had always been accompanied by ‘a lot of tensions.’

This, she noted, coupled with existing land and chieftaincy disputes in some communities and the external threat in the subregion, including violent extremism, made it crucial for stakeholders to be wary and not engage in acts that would escalate these conflicts to create room for the activities of violent extremists.

‘This year’s election is peculiar due to the external threat in the subregion, and today we want to make the point that this year’s election, more than ever, we need to foster a culture of tolerance so that violent extremists and
other marlin forces do not take advantage of our vulnerability stemming from the political season.’

Ms Addy made these remarks when she addressed stakeholders at the fifth National Dialogue on ‘Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism’ (PCVE) at Nalerigu in the Northeast Region.

It was held on the theme: ‘Promoting a Culture of Tolerance: A Catalyst for Peaceful Elections Amidst Threats of Violent Extremism,’ with a national working theme as ‘Together we can build Ghana, so get involved.’.

The interparty national dialogue meeting formed part of the European Union-sponsored project dubbed ‘Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism’ being implemented by the NCCE in the North East, Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Savannah, Bono, Bono East, and Oti Regions.

The Chairperson noted that ‘violent extremists thrive where there is existing conflict’ and urged the stakeholders to inculcate a culture of tolerance to promote peace for sustainable development.

She emphasised that 70 per cent of the country’s po
pulation was below 35 years old and was usually the target of the violent extremists due to their socioeconomic vulnerability and called on them to guard themselves against being used to cause violence.

‘Let’s not shed blood because of elections. It is not worth it,’ she stressed.¬†

Reverend Father Clement Aapengnuo, Team Leader, CONGINTA-Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, indicated that issues of tribalism could fuel activities of violent extremism, adding ‘There is only one humanity in this world. Let’s all be right and let the community spirit thrive.’.¬†

Mr Seidu Bismark, National Security Officer, Savannah Region, called on the public not to trade their votes but rather to demand accountability, as ‘politicians will always recoup the money they invest while the larger population remains marginalized.’

Dr Yidana Zakaria, the North East Regional Minister, commended the Commission for the initiative to inculcate in the citizenry security consciousness.

He emphasised that ‘Ghana is bigger than any po
litical party, and we must all act together to preserve the peace of this country.’

Mr Sulemana Steven Sullaey, Chief of Youth Affairs, Nayiri, thanked the Commission for its effort in promoting peace and called on the youth to be peace mediators and desist from acts that will destabilise the country.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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