February 28, 2018
Former President of Ghana John D. Mahama will today meet with political leaders and other stakeholders at a high level peace ceremony at Radison Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel in Freetown.
As way of maintaining peace during and after the March 7th elections, the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) invited the former president of Ghana to engage political party leaders on the need to maintain peace in the country.
He arrived in the country on Monday afternoon onboard Kenya Airways.
In a snappy ceremony at Lungi Airport, John Mahaha noted that electoral disputes are key flashpoint for conflict and that stakeholders must not take it for granted that things would work out.
He was quoted in the Awoko newspaper to have said on arrival that, “We need to ensure that the stakeholders are tied into a pledge to use legitimate and legal means to resolve the differences that would come out,” thus emphasising the need to use legal frameworks to address disputes emanating from the electoral process.
President John Mahama ruled Ghana for a term after he won the 2012 elections, taking after Professor John Atta Mills, under whom he served as Vice President.
However, his party – the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) – lost the 2016 elections to Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party.
In his concession speech after he lost to President Akufo-Addo, Mahama noted that: “It is precisely on account of my belief in Ghana and its future that notwithstanding the irregularities associated with this election, I have decided at this stage to congratulate the President-elect. With this understanding, I would like to assure the people of Ghana of my commitment to the sustenance of our country’s democracy and would work to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition to the incoming administration. I remain committed to the unity and stability of our great nation.”
Mr. Mahama, according to the BBC, is a respected historian, writer and communications specialist who is known for having a sense of humour.
While receiving the former Ghanaian President, Chairperson of PPRC, Retired Justice Patrick Hamilton said he invited the peace envoy because of his unique character in accepting defeat and handing over power peacefully.
Sierra Leoneans will vote in the fourth elections since democracy was restored in 1996. The ruling All Peoples Party faces a stiff competition from the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party and National Grand Coalition going into the crucial polls.
Tension is mounting by the day as the parties gear up to face-off, with violent clashes reported in Kamalo (birthplace of the APC presidential aspirant Dr. Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara) and Mile 91 in the north, and Kono and Kenema in the east, between supporters of the APC and SLPP.
The opposition parties have also complained about intimidation and arrest of their supporters by the Police, whom they blame of bias in favour of the ruling party.
As a result, the two main opposition parties and three other parties have declined to sign a memorandum of understanding with the police which among other things ban the movement of private and commercial vehicles on elections day.
Our sources say the former Ghanaian President has been brought in to broker a détente between political parties on the one hand, and political parties and the police, on the other hand, while also getting presidential candidates to pledge to maintain peace during and after the polls and to resort to peaceful and legal means of challenging the outcome.