President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday assured the international community that the Elections 2012 would be free, fair and peaceful.
“I am so certain of our stability through this process that I extend a warm welcome to any individual or organization that would like to come and monitor our elections,” he said in an address to the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Re recalled that Ghana had held five successful elections since 1992 resulted in the smooth transfer of power from one democratically chosen leader to another.
“When it comes to transparency in the electoral exercise, Ghana is, in fact, held up as an example of excellence,” he said.
President Mahama said the commitment to peace that I had pledged in the past and was pledging anew was in keeping with a longstanding tradition that Ghana has established domestically and internationally.
He said Ghana’s consistent championing of peace was neither accidental nor coincidental.
“Rather, it is by design and by determination. We have always recognized that peace is critical to development and to the overall improvement and enrichment of people’s lives.”
President Mahama said in the past two decades, Ghana’s position on peace had been tested again and again as the West African sub-region was ravaged by one civil war after another, but the country “held firm to that position and will continue to do so”.
The President said because Ghana wished to co-exist harmoniously with all of its neighbours, it was ever-conscious of the importance of peace when legislating policies.
“When offering asylum or a safe haven to refugees, we are ever-protective of our borders, making certain that political conflicts and ethnic tensions do not cross over onto our soil.”
He said the unfolding tensions in Cote d’Ivoire and Mali were of particular concern and pledged that Ghana would not allow its territory to be used to destabilize other nations.
“We will not be the storehouse of any resources or weapons that will be used to disrupt the peace and development of another nation. We will not harbour any individuals or groups whose intent is to utilize Ghana as a base of operation to undermine the safety and security of another nation.”
President Mahama said Ghana would work under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol and utilise whatever other tools of diplomacy at its our disposal to ensure that security is restored to Mali and Cote d’Ivoire and that they found a place alongside their fellow African countries in the continent’s forward march towards prosperity.
The President said Ghana had a strong belief in the universal declaration of human rights and therefore restated the country’s support for an independent, prosperous Palestinian state, co-existing peacefully with a free, stable Israeli state.
Ghana also reiterated its opposition to the continuous blockade on Cuba and called for an immediate lifting of the embargo.
President Mahama said the 21st century was fast being described as the century for Africa citing figures which stated that last year, of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, 6 were African.
“Ghana, my own country, posted one of the highest GDP growth rates, with a final outturn of 14 per cent. Foreign direct investment amounted to some 1.5 billion dollars in various sectors.”
President Mahama said this type of sustained growth, in combination with security and democracy can only ensure an Africa that will bear no resemblance to the ghost of its former self.
“An Africa where we create equal opportunities for women to realize their full potential, and where there is respect for the rights of all human beings.
“This new Africa will wean itself off of handouts and humanitarian relief. It will not continue to succumb to the corruption and oppression of despots. This new Africa will stand on the world stage as a mutual partner.”
President Mahama stressed that true partnership must be based on equality and said the current realities in the world called for greater inclusion to consolidate our common security and therefore informed Ghana’s stand for an expansion of the Security Council to admit more members in order to make a meaningful impact on the many challenges the world faced.