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Pass Political Transition Bill- Catholic Bishops’ Conference

 

Tamale (N/R), Mar 7, GNA – The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has called on Parliament to pass the Political Transition Bill into law before the December, 2012 general election.

   The Council has also demanded that the passage of the bill be followed up with the establishment of necessary institutional frameworks for its implementation in the January, 2013 transition process.

     It said “The chaotic and rushed-through handing-over experienced in January, 2009 that has left in its wake too many uncertainties till date in our political realm, must never be allowed to repeat itself”.

     This was contained in a statement read in Tamale on Wednesday by Most Reverend Philip Naameh, Archbishop of Tamale Diocese to launch the Council’s project on the 2012 elections, dubbed “Cast for Ghana’s 2012 Elections”.

     The project, which is being implemented with support from Star – Ghana, an NGO, seeks to sensitize Ghanaians on the forthcoming Biometric Voter Registration Exercise, lobby Parliament to pass the Political Transition Bill into law before the December, 2012 elections and work for peace to prevail before, during and after the elections.

     This was to demonstrate the commitment of the Bishops’ Council to play its role in the clarion call from its November 2011, Communique, which called on the Electoral Commission to implement biometric voting system for the December, 2012 elections.

     The launch ceremony was attended by selected members drawn from the five provinces of the Catholic Church in the three northern regions, which include Wa, Navrongo-Bolgatanga, Yendi and Damongo as well as some Muslim faithful.

     It was on the theme: “Civic Agenda for Smooth Political Transition: Focus on Biometric System, Voting and Transition Law for Ghana’s 2012 Elections”.

     The statement also called on the Electoral Commission to apply full biometric system for the 2012 elections.

     It said “We the Bishops’ Conference will do all in our power, and working with other advocacy groups, to push forward to achieve this goal”.

     It called on all political parties to accept peaceful dialogue as means of resolving conflicts generally, but especially those arising from electoral disputes.

     It added that “we as your Bishops are working to put in place contingency measures that will enable us to respond swiftly to bring leaders of parties to the table of peaceful dialogue when tensions are rearing their ugly heads”.

     It called on all especially the security agencies to exercise vigilance on the electoral process to avoid negative actions such as snatching of ballot-box.

     The statement said “a more reliable and credible system such as the biometric registration is a very welcome innovation in our electoral process but should not be a reason for complacency in the exercise of vigilance by citizens and the security personnel, especially on polling day”.

     It invited “all other faith groups to work with us Bishops to persuade our politicians and government not to do anything untoward that will derail our democratic credentials over the last 20 years”.

     It urged citizens to reject the deliberate misinformation being peddled around suggesting that the biometric equipment was injurious to human health and called on all qualified Ghanaians to register when the exercise began later this month.

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