Ghana: Press focuses on call for peaceful election by UN, others

The call by the United Nations' Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and Sahel on Ghanaians to…

The call by the United Nations’ Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and Sahel on Ghanaians to ensure peaceful elections and the declaration of December 7 as public holiday are some of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Times reports that Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, United Nations’ Special Representative of the Secretary General for West Africa and Sahel, has called on Ghanaians to ensure peaceful elections on December 7.

He said: “We must make considerable efforts to desist from the politics of acrimony, bitterness and rancor that undermine peaceful conduct of elections.”

Dr. Chambas, who was speaking yesterday at stakeholder’s forum to promote peaceful 2020 General Election, in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, said it was incumbent on all citizens to co-operate and collaborate with Electoral Commission (EC) to ensure peace before, during and after the election.

The forum, which was organised by the National Peace Council, was attended by political party representatives, chiefs, religious leaders and youth groups in the area.

Dr Chambas said: “I wish to remind stakeholders to collectively work towards peaceful elections”, and stressing that there was the need for Ghanaians to avoid acts that were likely to disturb the peace of the country.

He asked stakeholders to support the EC to conduct free and fair elections.

The newspaper says that the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Michael Lujuge, has applauded efforts being made by the government to expedite processes leading up to the realisation of efficient multimodal linkages that would complement the ongoing massive developments in Ghana’s port infrastructure.

Speaking on Eye on Port on the Status of Ghana’s Ports and their readiness for African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the DG of GPHA, indicated that the success of every country’s port system was not only seen in the availability of world class port infrastructure, but also the overall efficiency in its hinterland transport systems.

“Trade feeds on distance, time and cost. Connectivity is key. That is why the ideal situation is for you to have multimodal transport. That way, the trader is able to choose from these options the one that best suits him or her in terms of time and money,” he said

He said it was now more needed than ever for Ghana to step up efforts in developing its rail networks and also develop its inland water transport systems to open up opportunities for increased trade as Ghana intends to lead the way in intra-continental trade.

Mr. Luguje explained that with a well-oiled rail system in Ghana, the time and cost of carting goods through the hinterlands would be significantly reduced as well as the traffic congestion on the country’s road networks which would make the cost of doing business for importers and exporters cheaper.

He cited the case of Tema Motorway interchange project which has seen phase 1 completed, where goods coming to and from the port are moving at a speedy rate which has relieved economic operators.

The Times also says that about half of Ghana’s fish landing sites across the coast are under threat, Friends of the Nation (FoN), a non-governmental organisation has said.

According to them, most of the fishing communities were losing their source of livelihoods to the increasing takeover of the shorelines for residential and commercial facilities to the detriment of fishing.

The Programmes Manager of FoN, Kyei Kwadwo Yamoah, said this at a day’s national multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on securing fish landing sites in Accra.

The policy dialogue aimed at engaging policy makers, stakeholders on fish landing sites securing Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) and Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries (SSF) guidelines to promote impactful policy development planning.

It is also to improve policy formulation and implementation to promote responsible governance of tenure, sustainable, social and economic development and help eradicate poverty and encourage responsible investment in the fisheries sector.

VGGT is an international instrument that can be used by many different actors to improve the governance of tenure of land fisheries and forests.

The Graphic reports that this year’s Farmers Day public holiday which should have been observed on Friday, December 4, 2020 has now been shifted to Monday, December 7, 2020.

A statement dated December 2, 2020, signed and issued on Wednesday evening by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Mr. Eugene Arhin, said President Akufo-Addo by an Executive Instrument declared Monday, December 7, 2020, as a public holiday.

“This is to facilitate the conduct of the election in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, help ensure strict observance of COVID-19 safety protocoals on election day, and enable registered voters exercise their franchise in safety and with minimal inconvenience,” the statement said.

It said the decision was taken following the submission of a proposal to the President by the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jean Mensa, a proposal which is supported by the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) for Monday, 7th December, to be declared as a public holding to permit the safe exercise of the franchise, in the context of the pandemic.

It said under section 3 of the Public Holidays and Commemorative Days Act, 2001, (Act 601), the President has the power to declare any other day as a public holiday, instead of a day specified as a statutory public holiday.

Thus, with Farmers Day having been celebrated on Friday, November 6, 2020, the President is satisfied that it will be inexpedient for Friday, December 4, 2020 which is a statutory public holiday, to be observed as a public holiday. “As such, Friday, 4th December 2020, will not be observed as a holiday,” it said.