He was speaking at a two-day capacity building workshop organised by ActionAid Ghana at East Legon to train journalists on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The Charter seeks to promote “democracy, good governance, rule of law, human and people’s rights on the African continent, democratic rule and constitutional changes of power through free, fair and transparent elections in Africa and representative systems of government on the African continent”.
The workshop, attended by 12 selected journalists from the Upper West, Brong-Ahafo, Volta and Greater Accra Regions was sponsored by the European Commission and aimed at enhancing the knowledge of participants to improve coverage of African Union (AU) institutions to create awareness and understanding of the citizenry about the structures, organs and activities of the AU.
Prof Karikari said conflicts in a country affected development because it destroyed lives and properties and urged the media not to allow for their organisations to be used by some selfish individuals and groups to incite the public to cause mayhem.
He said there are many avenues to develop better channels of approaching issues and settling conflicts to prevent crisis adding that government policies could be criticised for change to better the lives of the people but the law should not be abused.
Prof Karikari said the use of guns and other offensive weapons were not the best solution to misunderstandings and conflicts because such situations could only compound the sufferings of the people,
He said the “crisis” in Bawku in the Upper East has brought about the shortage of onions because the area is the leading producer of the vegetable in the country.
He said this conflict has greatly led to the importation of onions from Burkina Faso to sell at a high cost.
Prof Karikari urged the public to be tolerant and accommodate each other more so approach issues objectively with regards to the laws of the land.
He said peace, a key factor for progress, must be promoted and maintained at all times and care must be taken to ensure that conflict situations do not get out of hands.
Prof Karikari appealed to people in authority, particularly politicians to stop the blame game and be ready to strengthen institutions to fight for the general well-being of the people.
Mrs Margaret Brew-Ward, ActionAid Ghana’s Advocacy and Campaign Manager on the African Governance Architecture (AGA) Project, said the peace of the nation was not secured because fear quite often gripped the citizenry during periods of elections.
She said the country in such periods had to organise among others peace marches and religious leaders also organise their followers to fast and pray for peaceful elections.
But the fear for outbreak of post election violence and its associated evils would not have arisen if Ghanaians understood democracy very well for the nation to come to the point of promoting human rights to stop all abuses, Mrs Brew-Ward said. Read Full Story