One hundred and thirty party foot soldiers and campaign activists from four political parties in the Upper East and Northern regions have undergone training in ethical campaigning.
The first phase of the workshop, which was held in Bolgatanga, involved 65 participants and the second phase which was held in Tamale in the Northern Region also had 65 participants.
The participants were drawn from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and the People’s National Convention (PNC).
The participants are to serve as peace ambassadors in the processes leading to the December polls through outreach programmes
It was organised by Rural Media Network (RUMNET), a development communication non-governmental organisation based in Tamale under a project dubbed; Youth and media skills for peaceful Election 2020 (YAMS4PEACE).
It is aimed at addressing vigilantism and election-related violence in the country and funded by STAR Ghana Foundation.
The Executive Director of RUMNET, Mr Abdallah Perez Kassim, said the training was necessitated by the rising spate of political-related violence in the country mostly carried out by the youth.
He said the workshop was also aimed at directing the thoughts and actions of party activists to engage their supporters and opponents in meaningful debates and dialogues on political issues to foster peace.
Mr Kassim expressed the hope that “at the end of the training, the political parties would deploy their foot soldiers and campaign activists to become election peace ambassadors to sensitise people in their respective communities to the need for harmony in the electioneering process”.
It is aimed at harnessing the exuberance and energy of the youth towards sustaining the prevailing peace before, during and after the elections.
“Campaigns must be without coercion; it must respect the rights and freedom of other parties to organise and reach out to voters with their messages,” he said.
He further advised them to focus on issues and the manifestoes of their candidates instead of conducting smear campaigns full of rumours and innuendos.
“Rather than perpetuate the notion that negative campaigning is the way to win, you should learn how to use appropriate strategies to win the heart of voters.
“We need to develop a culture of tolerance. A culture of tolerance involves debate and dynamic exchanges of opinions and arguments, whereby people can learn from others, get closer to the truth, and benefit from a vital public life,” Mr Kassim stated.
“Developing a culture of tolerance is a long-term undertaking that removes the roots of intolerance and is necessary for the democratic process. But it must start today,” the director further pointed out.
Mr Kassim further admonished that political campaigning should be conducted with honesty and integrity, saying party followers had the responsibility to always promote tolerance through their words, actions and the tone of their language.
“In a society where freedom of expression is not guaranteed, it hinders political tolerance. We need to respect our differences and act with tolerance, wisdom, understanding and maturity,”
he advised. #GhanaVotes2020