‘We’re nonpartisan but highly political’ – Kofi Asamoah

Mahama TUCOrganised labour has warned it will not allow any trade union in the country to be used to promote the political agenda of a particular political party as the nation goes to the polls on November 7.

Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress, Kofi Asamoah, told Ghanaians workers “we do not expect any trade union to be used to promote the interest of any political party”.

Addressing workers at this year’s May Day celebration in Wa in the Upper West Region Sunday, he asked workers to allow themselves to be used by any political party, noting “ Your jobs will not be secured by fighting on behalf any political party neither will your pay and working conditions be improved by engaging in political violence”.

He assured Ghanaians workers that organised labour would remain nonpartisan as it has been over the years but said that does not mean they will be apolitical

“In fact we are highly political as workers’ organisation. Therefore as the nation approaches elections, organised labour will maintain its presence and make political statements all of which are intended to ensure the peace of the nation is preserved,” he said.

Mr. Asamoah said they would engage their members to refrain from comments that could threaten the peace and stability of the nation during the elections.

The Secretary General also underscored the urgent need for workers and their unions to dedicate themselves to free, fair and peaceful elections in November while drawing attention to critical election related issues.

“I’m optimistic that no matter what happens in November 7 the skies will not fall. Ghana must remain united and strengthened for the task ahead. But optimism is not enough; there are real issues that need to be addressed by all stakeholders including the EC, Government, the political parties, media and citizens

Simmering mistrust

He observed a simmering mistrust between the Electoral Commission and some political parties and other stakeholders ought to be looked at before the November elections

He said while organised labour appreciates the enormous task ahead of the EC and the efforts made so far, “We call on the Electoral Commission to remain resolute and faithful to its constitutional mandate.”

“The Commission must jealously guard its independence and neutrality. At the same time, in guarding its independence, the Commission must remember that it remains subject and accountable to the people of Ghana,” he reminded the Commission

Unnecessary controversies

Mr Asamoah further charged the Commission to strive to avoid what he termed unnecessary controversies as the nation prepares for the election

“It is absolutely necessary that in an election year the commission avoids unnecessary controversies. It must be seen to be absolutely impartial. The commission should work diligently to build confidence in itself. A compromised electoral process is a recipe for electoral disaster. We must avoid this by all means,” he advised.

But he said the government has a crucial role to play in ensuring a free, fair and peaceful election by discharging its obligations to the Electoral Commission.

President’s responsibility

He said the President has a responsibility in making sure the election is conducted peacefully, saying “It is your responsibility as the president of the country, and indeed it can be of highest honour to see Ghana through this election peacefully.

He added: “This is especially so when you are a candidate in the election. Your wish like those of all other candidates is to win the elections. But … overseeing peaceful elections in which Ghana wins will be a far greater win for you, regardless of the outcome.

He said organised labour expects political parties to exhibit maturity in their utterances and activities, adding, “They must not only demand fairness from others, they must also exhibit fairness”

“We expect the competing parties and their presidential candidates to address important social and economic issues” which he mentioned as the unbearable cost of living, the huge unemployment, poverty, housing, sanitation and transportation.

“They have to tell us how they are going to take Ghana out of the failed IMF\World Bank-sponsored policies. This political season offers opportunity to have that debate. These opportunities should not be wasted”

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

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