Election 2024: I will not permit any act of violence – Akufo-Addo

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President Nana Akufo-Addo has vowed to ensure that the 2024 general election is transparent, free and fair, and without violence.

He has, therefore, cautioned elements plotting to foment trouble in the election to reconsider their action, stressing that he would not countenance any act of violence.

The President made the remarks when he joined the chiefs and people of Elmina at the Benya Lagoon for the rituals to officially commence this year’s Bakatue Festival.

The ritual symbolises the spiritual lifting of the ban on fishing in the lagoon, Bakatue.

It is marked on the first Tuesday of July, exactly a month after the traditional authorities imposed the ban.

The Bakatue Festival is celebrated to offer prayers of appreciation to the gods and ask for a good fishing year.

This year’s festival is on the theme: “Patronising made in Ghana goods and services to enhance economic development: The role of the people of Anomansa.”

President Akufo-Addo observed that Ghana was recognised globally as a beacon of democracy and urged all citizens to protect that legacy by collectively and actively ensuring a peaceful election.

“We are going to elect a leader; we are not going for war. I want them to understand that my government will not allow any nation wrecker to plunge this country into a state of war and anarchy because of the election,” he stated.

“The election will be transparent and fair such that the verdict will be accepted by all, regardless of who wins or loses,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo’s participation in Tuesday’s rituals is the first by any Ghanaian President, making his visit historic.

He and his entourage were treated to a spirited regatta and stunts by enthusiastic local fishermen, while various women groups dressed colourfully sang traditional songs and danced in large canoes criss-crossing one another on the lagoon.

Like every year, the bank of the lagoon was akin to a stadium hosting a World Cup final as hundreds of ecstatic people, including tourists and revelers, converged to witness the heart-warming celebration.

President Akufo-Addo described Bakatue as one of the best festivals in Ghana and commended the chiefs and people of Elmina for protecting and improving upon their cultural heritage.

The President noted that he had been fair and honest with the people of Elmina with regard to development, citing the Elmina Fishing Harbour as a major project.

He, therefore, expressed disappointment over the repeated rejection of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) parliamentary candidates in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem.

He appealed to them to vote for the NPP candidate in the upcoming election.

Responding to some appeals made by the Omanhen of the Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kodwo Conduah VI, the President made a promise to desilt the choked Benya Lagoon and personally give the Edinaman Senior High School a bus.

He was, however, careful about making a promise to lift the ban on the transshipment of fish at sea from industrial trawlers to local canoes, popularly known as Saiko.

He observed that the Ministry of Fisheries was averse to the practice but promised to engage the sector minister on in it, anyway.

“We will consider your appeal for a fund to support festivals in Ghana,” he also added.

Nana Conduah had early on expressed gratitude to the President for paying special attention to Elmina with regard to development but tabled before him a few other requests for urgent consideration.

He had appealed to the President to help them dredge their heavily silted lagoon as it was a major source of livelihood for them.

He also repeated his appeal for a school bus for the Edinaman Secondary School to help transport the students.

The Omanhen also drew President Akufo-Addo’s attention to a defect at the fishing harbour, which was making it difficult for them to receive large boats and pleaded with him to have it fixed.

He brought up the vexed issue of ‘Saiko’ again and implored the President to reconsider the ban on the practice because many indigenes depended on it.

Nana Conduah also requested for a share of the revenue generated by the Elmina Castle to fund education and undertake other developmental projects.

“Festival is a business, which stimulates the local economy. But the problem is that we struggle to organise the festivals because we lack adequate funds and sponsorship,” he complained.

“I am, therefore, appealing to you for a special fund to sponsor festivals in the country,” he added.


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