In December 2012, Ghana would be going to the polls to elect a president and legislature. Part of the preparation towards that is the compilation of the new voters register currently under way in the country.
As a leading advocate for the freedom of expression and human rights, the Ghanaian Center of PEN International wishes to register its appreciation to the numerous civil society organizations campaigning for free, fair and violence-free elections.
We have also noticed with encouragement the call by the political parties, their leaders and other opinion leaders for the elections to be violence-free. The National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) is doing a particularly good job with its campaign in the Ghanaian media to ensure that the elections pass off peacefully.
But we are also concerned about reports of intimidation, violence, use of hate language and impunity all across the country. We are therefore calling on the relevant authorities, that is, the government, the Electoral Commission, the security agencies and the political parties to investigate these reports thoroughly and take appropriate action(s) without delay, that would send a clear message of “zero tolerance” to trouble-makers.
We are also by this press release serving notice that we are taking note of and documenting all the reported cases of intimidation, violence, hate language and impunity to be used as evidence at the International Criminal Court or any other international tribunal if Ghana’s political leaders fail in their duty of assuring violence-free elections and lead the country to bloodshed.
As believers in and defenders of the freedom of expression, we are not unmindful of the harm words can often do when used in certain contexts, so we call on the media especially, to rise above petty partisanship and use of language of hate because should anything go awry, they would be as culpable as the politicians and made to face the law.
A Harruna Attah, President,
Mackay Anim-Appiah, Executive Director
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