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President Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians not only to ignore but to name and shame politicians and political parties which might exploit them to cause violence as the country gears up for Election 2020.

President Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians not only to ignore but to name and shame politicians and political parties which might exploit them to cause violence as the country gears up for Election 2020.

It would be wrong to allow multiparty democracy to divide the country in next year’s general elections, he said.

The President made these remarks as he addressed a durbar of chiefs and people of the Kenyasi Number One, Kenyasi Number Two and Ntotroso Traditional Areas in the Asutifi North District of the newly created Ahafo Region.

He was undertaking the second leg of a working visit to the newly created Bono, Ahafo and Bono East Regions.

Fruits due

President Akufo-Addo said his government was on course to fulfilling its mandate and achieving a remarkable change for the better in the lives of Ghanaians.

He added that the main purpose of creating the new regions was to bring local governance to the people’s doorstep.

Nana Osei Kofi Abiri, paramount chief of Kenyasi Number One, commended the President for the Free Senior High School and Planting for Food and Jobs programmes, and for making possible the creation of the Ahafo Region.

He said food is now being produced in abundance in the area because of the Planting for Food and Jobs scheme.

Chief’s pleas

Nana Abiri however expressed concern over the deplorable state of the Kenyasi-Hwidiem road and access roads in the Kenyasi Number One and Kenyasi Number Two townships, and appealed to the government to rehabilitate them.

He added that the OLA Girls’ Senior High School and Ntotroso College of Nursing require new infrastructure.

Kenyasi Number One also needs a technical and vocational training school to provide the youth with skills which will assure them of employment, he said.

Stop the violence

At another durbar of chiefs and people at Sankore, also in the Ahafo Region, the President ordered that a cycle of politically related acts of violence and vigilantism which has plagued the town must cease.

President Akufo-Addo announced that the Vigilantism and Related Offences Bill, which is currently before Parliament, should deal effectively with the menace posed by vigilantism not only in Sankore, but in all other parts of Ghana.

“Once Parliament passes this bill, everyone involved in vigilantism will face the law,” the President said. “Whether you are a minister, regional minister, MP or not, once you are implicated, you will be prosecuted.”

Expressing disgust at the spate of politically motivated violence in Sankore, he declared: “This cycle of violence taking place in Sankore ends today.”

Losers’ mindset

He assured residents that, as opposed to what happened in the run-up to the 2016 election, when Sankore became a hotbed for clashes and attacks on residents, “In the 2020 elections, I give you my personal promise: it will not happen here in Sankore,” the President said.

“If you are [winning], then there is no need to intimidate people into voting for you. The people themselves will rally together to vote for you.

“That is what we want to see here in Ghana – peaceful, free elections. If you are going to rely on violence and bloodshed, then it would appear that you are not the one the people want.

“I repeat, this will not happen again.”

1D1F in Tanoso

On Saturday, President Akufo-Addo inspected the Tanoso site of Rhovanni Royal, one of the enterprises operating under the government’s One District, One Factory (1D1F) programme.

The government is facilitating the establishment of 181 enterprise projects in 110 district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies across all 16 regions of Ghana. Out of these 181 projects, 79 are at various stages of operation.

It is expected that the remaining 102 companies will commence work before the end of the year.

Cuts imports

Interacting with the promoters of the Tanoso project, the President expressed satisfaction with the progress of works on the project site. He was particularly pleased that local raw materials are going to be used to produce durable products such as bricks, paving stones, roofing tiles and panels for the construction industry.

President Akufo-Addo added that the large clay deposits at Tanoso, where the factory is sited, place the project in a competitive position to contribute positively towards the construction of affordable housing for Ghanaians.

He applauded Rhovanni Royal’s decision to install a 1MW solar power unit to make the factory completely independent of the national grid. In addition, the promoters intend to offer use of their drying ovens at minimal cost to local potters working in Tanoso, and to train them in best practice that will help minimise environmental degradation.

It is expected that the project will offer welcome employment opportunities to the residents of Tanoso and surrounding villages. It will be particularly beneficial to young people living locally, offering direct employment to 1,800 people and creating another 8,000 indirect jobs.

Once completed, the factory is expected to significantly reduce imports of clinker into Ghana, which stood at roughly US$700 million last year.