He said it was unacceptable that the political process in the country had become antagonistic as a result of the conduct and utterances of politicians, thereby threatening to erode the democratic gains that Ghana had made over decades.
President Akufo-Addo made the call when he delivered the 62nd Independence Anniversary Address at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale.
Marked on the theme: “Celebrating Peace and Unity,” the Independence Day Celebration was held outside Accra, for the first time, to underline the unity of the nation and to solidify the peace and reconciliation Dagbon is enjoying after decades of strife and uncertainties.
President Akufo-Addo was emphatic that there could be no room for violence in the political discourse of Ghana because “the very concept of political violence is offensive and shames us all who are in politics.”
He said that competitive politics should be characterised by mutual respect and not divisiveness adding: “We the leaders of the political parties have a great responsibility to set a proper tone for political discourse in our country.”
Politics, he said, should be a contest of ideas that sough to win the hearts and minds of the people, and not a source of friction and conflict.
President Akufo-Addo said political success should reflect in the number of educated youth, who were gainfully employed after school and “not by how many young people can be marshalled to disrupt elections or how many broken bones we can count.”
“The people of Ghana do not deserve to be toyed with in such a reckless manner,” he said, and expressed the hope that the mooted meeting between the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress would address the nagging and vexed issue of political thuggery.
The President vowed to leave no stone unturned to ensure that Ghana’s political sphere was violence free.
“I will spare no effort to ensure the nation is rid of politically-related violence,” he stated, and called on all and sundry to shun acts that have the potential to undermine the peace of the country.
President Akufo-Addo expressed the hope that the realisation of peace in the decade-old Dagbon impasse would create the impetus to settle all other chieftaincy disputes in the country.
He said it was time for a critical look at the chieftaincy institution because it was the “embodiment of our culture” and the first point of settlement for disputes.
President Akufo-Addo said the avoidance of conflict in the chieftaincy institution was critical to its survival and that “where chiefs offer forward-looking leadership there is modernisation and development.’’
He expressed gratitude to the chiefs and people of the North for keeping faith with government while it sought a lasting solution to their challenges.
He expressed the assurance that with the coming into being of the new regions the development gaps in the area would be addressed to ensure the prosperity of the people.
He urged Ghanaians to make out time to tour areas of the North to familiarize themselves with their culture as well as to boost domestic tourism.
Present at the event were the the first Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, Vice President Dr Mahamadu Bawumia and his wife, Samira, the Speaker of Parliament Professor Mike Ocquaye and his wife, former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama and the Chief of Staff, Madam Frema Akosua Osei Opare.
Other dignitaries included members of the Council of State, eminent traditional rulers and clergy, diplomats, senior government officials, members of Parliament, Ministers and Service Commanders.