The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP-Ghana) has expressed concerns that the political rivalry between the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the aftermath of last December's elections is creating tension in the country.
It said the situation has been aggravated by political polarization resulting in the misinterpretation of actions, creating mistrust and a loss of confidence between the two parties which, according to WANEP, could likely have a negative impact the country's democratic culture.
Vice Chairperson of WANEP-Ghana Catherine Bob-Millar raised these issues in Tamale on Thursday during a two-day workshop for community peace makers drawn from Tamale, Wa and Bawku in the Northern, Upper West and Upper East Regions, respectively.
The workshop aimed to equip the participants with security alert systems to assist WANEP in advocating and alerting the nation of security threats so that tensions can be defused before they erupt.
Mrs. Bob-Millar called on the nation to manage the situation carefully, by building consensus among the various elections stakeholders in order to avoid chaos.
Mr. Chukwuemeka B. Eze, Programmes Director of WANEP, described as unhealthy the mounting accusations between the NPP and the NDC that pour out even as a petition to nullify election results is before the court, adding that they demonstrate "mistrust and lack of confidence in the judicial process.”
Of the West African sub-region, he said that many of its countries are going through inter-state and communal conflicts but that Ghana represents a success story for the peace that the country maintains. However, he also observed that the disparity between the rich and poor is very high, as is the unemployment rate.
Mr. Ernest Asigri, Programme Field Coordinator of the UN Joint Programme on Human Security, noted that the UN had acknowledged the peaceful nature by which Ghana’s three northern regions conducted themselves in the just ended elections.
He said the peace that was sustained in the area was an indicative of development to come since development and peace are interrelated. He also offered assurances of the UN’s readiness to support all peace initiatives.
Mr. Justin Bayor, National Network Coordinator of WANEP-Ghana, said the organization has, since 2008, trained personnel and introduced the Early Warning Systems to the various security institutions. Furthermore, he reported, his organization is ready to introduce a short message services (SMS) platform.
He urged the participants to take the training seriously since it would introduce them to practical methods that would enable them defuse latent conflicts.