Candidates vying for the parliamentary seat of Asawase constituency have signed a peace pact; a seal of assurance that they will ensure the prevalence of peace in the area during the upcoming general elections .
Hon Muntakar Mubarak (incumbent MP contesting on the ticket of NDC) and Hon Alidu Seidu, NPP parliamentary candidate appended their signature to the memo and separately presented copies to the Paramount Chief for Asokore Mampong, Nana Boakye Ansah Debrah at a town hall meeting held on Wednesday 2nd December 2020.
The peace agreement was jointly organized by officials of the EU funded project No Business as Usual (NBU) Project, Asokore Mampong Traditional Council, Local Council of Churches and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).
It was witnessed by executives of the Council of Zongo Chiefs, officers from the Electoral Commission, Security personnel, Civil Society organizations within the municipality, representatives of the two main political parties, Islamic clerics among others.
Hon Muntakar Mubarak in his statement pledged that he will not start any violence within the constituency before, during and after the upcoming general elections.
“ I stand before God and promise the people of Asawase constituency that I Mohammed Mubarak Muntakar will not start any violence. I will not assign anyone to cause disturbance in any electoral area. I will not give out a gun to anyone. I will not give out a machete to anyone. I will not give a stick to anyone. I will not contract anyone to cause chaos from Parkoso to Akwatialine. This is my vow before God. Should I forfeit, God should deal with me.”
He referred that apart from 2005 bye-elections which was characterized by mayhem, he has since then played an effective role in ensuring that no violence sparks within the constituency during electioneering periods.
Considering his poor background and the honor done him by constituents by making him their Member of Parliament for the past 16 years, he said there is no way he will pray for chaotic happenings within the constituency.
Hon Alidu Seidu on his part promised that he will never encourage any act of violence in the upcoming general elections.
“ I Alidu Seidu stand before you Nana and Council of Zongo Chiefs to make a pledge that I will not do anything that will trigger violence. It is God who appoints a leader and he does it when he wants to…I want to plead with everybody here, whether you are my supporter or a member of the NDC not to do anything that will generate violence because if you are arrested, there is no way I will show up to rescue you. That will serve as memorial to others that Alidu Seidu is and was in for peace.”
Addressing the gathering, Director for SOS Children’s Villages-Kumasi Mr. Benard Amoako described as extremely worrying how the constituency has gained notoriety for political violence in Ghana.
The name Asawase constituency he indicated has largely become synonymous to political violence across the media landscape.
“Reports on both local and national media in reference to electoral violence in the municipality paints a gloomy image about our municipality”.
He clearly stated that the tag on the municipality as a hot spot for political violence has the potential to drive away investors from the municipality and has a direct relation with the slow pace of development.
“ This undeniable accounts for increased vulnerability and high rate of unemployment especially among the youth. Social vices such as early marriages, teenage pregnancies, broken homes, lack of proper parental care which are confronted within the municipality are largely the effects of unemployment and vulnerability of the youth”.
Mr. Amoako described the abovementioned trend as extremely worrying and that it derails all the gains and efforts stakeholders are making to improve the livelihoods of indigenes especially the youth.
“It is an undeniable fact that the youth who are often engaged in this electoral violence are vulnerable and unemployed youth. They easily fall prey to inducements and promises made by some unscrupulous political actors. It is in this light that SOS Children’s villages Ghana has invested hugely in the development of the municipality specifically for the youth”.
For Mr. Amoako, election should be a medium for enhancing social accountability and deepening our democratic credentials and not a platform for violence.
“Elections provide citizens the opportunity to pass their verdict on the political administration, leadership and governance in every four years. At no point should elections lead to loss of lives, properties and livelihoods. If political actors have genuinely served their people with utmost integrity, sincerity and condor, then they must allow citizens to make their own decisions through the ballot.”
Chief for Asokore Mampong said the upcoming elections is about expression of individual’s decision on who is fit to lead and therefore shouldn’t in any way generate any violence. He called on the two candidates to stick to their promises so as to maintain the peace within the constituency.