Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has called on Ghanaians to ensure peaceful presidential and parliamentary polls in 2016.
He said 2016 is a year of decision for the nation to arrest the dangerous slump of the society and the economy.
According to the former president, Ghanaians must decide for good, efficient and accountable governance at all levels of government.
Former President Kufuor, in a New Year message released in Accra yesterday, noted that the coming year is going to be a reprieve from the many and seemingly endless challenges that had beset the nation throughout the year 2015.
“Scandals and perceived corruption in governance and the society generally, socio-economic hardships such as unstable currency, unstable power supplies – undermining both industrial and domestic ventures – executive bureaucratic delays in the public sector, especially at the ports, many industrial actions, protest demonstrations throughout the economy, sudden and high tariff increases for utilities and ever-bloating national debt stock, have hall-marked the out-going year,” he observed.
The statement added, “We must all resolve to enter and live through this New Year with this determination so that the outcome of the elections will ensure us with the government we can all accept and work with in good faith and in peace.”
The former president believes this is how to give the nation and its citizenry the sustained peace and direction to real development and dignity.
Aside the call for peaceful elections, the statement urged civil society groups and other stakeholders in democracy to exert their rights.
He charged, “Civil society organizations, traditional leaders and religious groups must assume responsible guidance within their remits to ensure that the entire citizenry of the nation live up to the spirit and letter of the national constitution which enshrines inclusive democracy as the way of life for all of us.”
Mr. Kufuor said Ghanaians must show through their conduct and choices that they understand the uses of the vote.
In the view of the former head of state, sustained transformation of society will not come through short-sighted and short-term inducements, stressing that there is the need to examine critically the track records and manifestoes of the contending parties before making choices in the elections.
Touching on the Electoral Commission (EC), former President Kufuor contended that it must be resolute in its independence and impartiality – as enjoined by the national constitution – in its officiating of the elections.
He said the security agencies of the nation must uphold the integrity and security of the national constitution and the state, which are above all institutions, parties and individuals of the land.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson