Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the UN Secretary General Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, has called on the leadership of political parties to expunge unregulated security bodies or vigilante groups from their structures.
Such unregulated parallel security forces, he said, could pose challenges and undermine the general security of the nation during the November election if steps were not taken by political parties to ban them.
Dr Chambas was speaking at a press conference on the upcoming November election at the Accra International Conference Centre on Friday.
He urged the parties to show leadership and purge their structures of those groups as well as disassociate themselves entirely from their activities or formations in the interest of the nation’s security.
“We acknowledge that these groups are likely to stir a political climate of intolerance and violence that cannot be conducive and helpful in the preparations towards the impending elections,” he said.
Dr Chambas reminded political parties of their responsibility to safeguard the country’s stability as they campaigned towards peaceful polls.
He urged stakeholders including political party supporters to use existing mechanisms for dispute resolution to bridge their differences so as to avert violence.
He said the ability of the Electoral Commission, the Judicial System, the Election Security Taskforce and other electoral stakeholders to address any emerging situations in a prompt, professional and restrained manner would be crucial to a peaceful election.
Dr Chambas highlighted the need for political parties and stakeholders in elections to work closely and inclusively through consultations to build consensus towards ensuring credible and peaceful election.
He said the Kumasi Declaration, signed by presidential candidates in 2012, contributed greatly to a peaceful election and encouraged the National Peace Council to continue its consultative process towards signing similar peace accords during this year.
“As you know Ghana has, over the years, demonstrated exemplary conduct of elections with a proven track record of national ownership and managing peaceful transitions.
“Once again the international community has high expectations that the upcoming presidential and legislative elections would be conducted in a peaceful and credible manner, in line with this well-deserved reputation as a model for the region and beyond,” he said.