December 8, 2021

NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

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Accept election results to prevent violence – Police Chiefs tell ECOWAS politicians

WAS politicians
Dampare warned politicians against holding on to power against all odds, adding that the phenomenon is the major reason for post-election violence which has led to political instability in some countries of the sub-region.

By Lizzy Okoji

Ghanaian Inspector General of Police (IGP), George Dampare, has advised politicians of ECOWAS Countries to accept results at the end of elections to prevent violence that leads to political instability.

Dampare gave the advice on Friday during the panel of discussion on “Security Forces and Inclusive, Peaceful Democratic Elections in the ECOWAS Region Consolidation”, at the ongoing ECOWAS Parliament High-level Seminar in Winneba, Ghana.

This is also as IGP Dampare tasked the Electoral Commissions of Members States on organising credible elections to avoid contestants doubting outcomes and results.

Dampare warned politicians against holding on to power against all odds, adding that the phenomenon is the major reason for post-election violence which has led to political instability in some countries of the sub-region.

“I will urge politicians in the ECOWAS Sub-region, and you Parliamentarians to always accept results to avoid any form of crisis or violence.

“Holding on to power as if it is do or die, has created a big challenge. Loosing elections is not the end of the world.

“It is better to let go of power that will destroy your country because there will always be another opportunity,” said yhe po,ice chief.

Dampare said that all actors involved in the election process have a role to play in ensuring the peaceful and credible conducts of elections, urging them to live up to their responsibilities.

He added that once all actors carry out their responsibilities effectively, the provisions for security during elections will not be so necessary.

“All the actors have a role to play for a peaceful election, and they are all aware of their responsibilities.

“If political parties, candidates, the electoral commissioner and his officers carry it to the later, then we will get to the point that provision for security during elections becomes irrelevant.

“That will be the point where we will say we have matured as democratic countries and a democratic sub-region.

“But if we keep depending on the security agencies to give you hope for purpose of ensuring a successful election, then our democracy is still at its infancy.

“We need to get to the point where elections will be held without thinking of security and we will get there,” Dampare said.

Sierra Leone’s IGP, Ambrose Sovula also urged political office holders to serve their electorates very well to avoid using fraudulent means to hold on to power at all cost.

Sovula said politicians who serve their electorate well would always have an express win at the polls without fear.

He also called on the ECOWAS Parliament to make provisions for policing at intra-party politics level, adding that the process of picking candidates at party level comes with some level of crisis.

The IGP also recommended that political rallies be held as town hall meetings and not on the street with mammoth crowds which makes policing more difficult.

“You should serve your electorate well so that when it comes to time for elections it should not be a do or die issue.

“When you have served your electorate, you do not have to take it by force and at all means.

“Intra-party politics, this can be addressed by this parliament because those in this parliament are responsible to pick their Presidential candidates.

“They will be able to talk to themselves on how such processes will not amount to violence.

“Political party rallies, especially major political parties that attract large crowd is a challenge. I will recommend town hall meetings rather than taking to the street,” Soluva said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ECOWAS Parliament’s High-level meeting is with the theme “Two Decades of Democratic Elections in ECOWAS Member States: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward”.

The seminar seeks to make recommendations for new frameworks and mechanisms to improve existing legal, institutional and material frameworks for conducting elections in Member States. (NAN)