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December 12, 2012

Ghana Christian Council Appeals for Calm

by Peter Clottey

The Christian Council of Ghana has called on supporters of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to remain calm as the party prepares to legally challenge the outcome of last Friday’s presidential vote.

“The court clearly provides for procedure for settling disputes during the election, so we don’t see the point in anybody getting agitated, when the courts are clearly prepared to hear their case,” said Reverend Fred Deegbe, general secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana.

He said supporters of both the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the NPP should eschew acts or rhetoric that could create tension and possible violence.

Partisans of the NPP demonstrated in Accra to protest their displeasure of the final result of the presidential vote. The protests, some eye witnesses say, sometimes turned violent.

Deegbe says the religious group is making efforts to meet leaders of both parties to help resolve any possible tension ahead of the court challenge.

“We have met them and we are making the effort to meet them again. In the next day or so, we should be able to hopefully get a response from them and be able to meet them,” said Deegbe.

He says the group is working closely with the Ghana Congress of Religions and Peace (GCRP), an umbrella group for religious organizations, to help preach peace to supporters of the political parties.

“That is the body that has been involved in this mediation,” continued Deegbe, “even when there was this rumpus about the 45 [newly] created constituencies [before the vote], it was the GCRP that engaged the electoral commission and the political parties. And that body is again the one that is seeking to have audience with all these political parties to impress upon them to let peace prevail.”

The GCRP comprises of the main Christian bodies as well as the Muslims and Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana.

Reverend Deegbe says the Christian Council is hopeful that Ghanaians will stay calm as the Supreme Court reviews the legal challenge.

“[Ghanaians] should remain calm and focused [since] we have a country to think about. We believe that if anybody thinks that they have a cause to dispute the election results, they should go to court, and while they are preparing their evidence to go to court, life must go on and be normal," said Deegbe.

“We have asked those who feel they are victors to rejoice with circumspection, and we have also told those who have been defeated not to take it too hard and say that they would not accept it.”

Clottey interview with Rev Dr..Fred Deegbe,