CDD-Ghana peace project is successful – Aborampah Mensah
Mr Aborampah Mensah, Programme Officer of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), on Wednesday said the Center’s peace project organized prior and during the 2012 general elections was very successful.
He said areas, which were marked as trouble spots during elections over the years, had a peaceful election as a result of the intervention of the project.
He said the three-year project was a collaboration between the CDD-Ghana, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty (FNF) and the European Union (EU), which sought to respond to problems of election violence and mount appropriate interventions in the form of civic education and citizen engagement on the topic of democratic citizenship.
Mr Mensah was speaking at a National Stakeholders briefing and experience sharing workshop organized in Accra to find other means to sustain the project, which will end on June 15, this year.
He said the project was conceived based on the problems identified in the 2008 elections as well as other recommendations gathered from the observer groups and the media.
He said despite the success story of Ghana’s democracy there were serious weaknesses and flaws in Ghana’s electoral processes and politics.
He mentioned high level of mistrust among political parties and polarization of politics in the country as some of the problems that ignite election violence in the country.
Mr Mensah said initially, the project targeted 16,400 participants from each of the 15 selected Districts/Constituencies but at the end of it all each district recorded 25,000 participants and commended the peer educators and Advisory Committee members for their commitment.
He said although the project was faced with limited resources, cultural barriers, especially against women and getting qualified and dedicated women who show interest in politics for recruitment, they were able to overcome those challenges and went ahead to achieve the objective of imparting knowledge, building skills and cultivating attitude among the people.
Ambassador Francis Tsegah, Senior Fellow at CDD-Ghana, said, the organization of successful elections since 1992 has established a sense of satisfaction both in Ghana and among international observers that democracy has taken root in Ghana.
He said despite those successes, weaknesses and flaws in Ghana’s electoral processes have been noted.
He said an analysis of the Ghanaian election environment by various organizations, have shown that many people do not have proper understanding and knowledge of Ghana’s democracy and electoral processes.
Ambassador Tsegah cited the Coalition of Domestic Observers (CODEO) pre-election observation report, which stated that serious and sometimes violent disagreements that occurred during the revision of the voter’s register ahead of the 2008 polls were based solely on a lack of understanding and knowledge of the procedures.
He said similarly, the lack of proper understanding of political and electoral competition in a democracy incited some of the youths to be politically intolerant and violent and commended the FNF and EU for their financial support.
Ms Tina Asante-Appeatu, Programme Officer, FNF, said the foundation believed in civilian democracy where individuals are given their freedom to participate in any democratic activity.
He said the project was the foundation’s contribution to Ghana’s elections.
There were contributions from Abantu for Development, WiLDAF, GenCEND, all Non Governmental Organization spearheading issues concerning women in politics.