Violence at Electoral Commission’s Registration Centres - Wake-up Call to EC and All Stakeholders
The clashes experienced at Ghana’ Electoral Commission’s Registration centres, must be of concern to all Ghanaians and should be outrightly condemned by all peace-loving Ghanaians and the Electoral Commission itself. Why should it cost the life of someone in order for the other to get registered for a voter’s ID card? Ghana has come a long way into this democracy and should not play with this our fragile democracy. The World is looking up to us for continuous peace and we should not disappoint the world.
The various pockets of violence instigated by some political parties in the country clearly send a signal to us all that these political parties are not prepared to accept the outcome of the 2020 elections come December 7th. This act of intolerance should not be taken lightly and should be dealt with as quickly as possible to avert plunging this peaceful country into war. The NPP and NDC blame game factor will not solve the problem. We are all one people with diverse opinions and we need to learn to appreciate that and effortlessly work towards the betterment of this country.
For Election 2020 to be held peacefully devoid of violence, the stakeholders must rise up to the occasion and fight the way of peace and tolerance:
The Electoral Commission of Ghana
The Electoral Commission of Ghana needs to maintain its integrity and a nonpartisan stand on all major issues regarding the organization of elections in the country. This will enable them win the trust of all the political parties in the country. As an independent commission sourcing its powers from the Supreme Laws of the nation thus the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, it needs to work without fear or favour and apply the necessary sanctions on any political party that goes contrary to the electoral rules in this country. The Electoral Commission must do its best possible to compile and make ready in advance, the voter register to all political parties for them to be satisfied with it before the elections in order to avert any doubt.
Besides, the Electoral Commission of Ghana needs to start its Electoral Education campaign very early enough on all local and national media across the print and electronic media. This will help reduce electoral malpractices and wrong voting. The personnel being engaged to administer the voting process should be of high integrity and non-affiliates to any political party at least, not those who have made their intentions clear to have been identified as being affiliated to any political party. The Electoral Commission can consider innovating, the voting process where voters can log into a voting portal with their ID numbers and vote ones after being verified. This will reduce overcrowding and violence at Polling Stations.
The Political Parties
In Ghana, there are about twenty-seven (27) political parties which are officially registered and have the mandate to contest for the Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2020. As we are in an election year, the tension is mounting as to who will have the honour to rule Ghana for the next four (4) years. Politicians and their followers owe this country a great responsibility to ensure peace and stability in the country. Flag Bearers of these parties need to exercise decorum in their utterances in their bid to convince their electorates to vote for them. The followers of these parties must be cautioned against unguarded utterances on the personalities of their opponents. Political parties should be made to take an oath of peace and should be sanctioned when they transgress. They should not incite violence among the good people of Ghana. The NPP and NDC clashes at the electoral areas are a sign of imminent disaster for this nation.
The Security Agencies
The neutrality and the independence of Ghana’s Security Agencies are very paramount in the discharge of their duties to the nation. When the Security Agencies are not influenced by any political party but are allowed to discharge their duties without fear or favour, the citizens will have confidence in the Security of this nation. Apart from God, the life of the ordinary Ghanaian lies sanctioned by the operations of the Security Agencies. They need to rise up to the occasion with a nonpartisan attitude to ensure a free and fair Election 2020.
The Role of the Chiefs in Our Political Discourse
The Chiefs are the traditional rulers of our people and custodians of our culture and tradition as Ghanaians. They are a representation of our entirety and a unifying emblem of our political divide. Looking at the crucial roles chiefs play in this country, they need not to be partisan in the discharge of their duties. This will help them control the political atmosphere in their traditional areas very well. Going into Election 2020, the Chiefs need to summon all the political parties in their various jurisdictions and caution them against electoral violence and uncultured utterances and as such, punish anyone found culpable of going against the bye-laws in these areas. These and many measures will curtail any disturbances in the country going into Election 2020.
Activities of Other Organizations
The Ghana Peace Council, the Catholic Bishops Conference in Ghana, the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO), IPAC, Amnesty International and all the peace-loving organizations in the country, ought to organize resources and engage with all the political leaders of the nation concerning Election 2020. They need to get them to pledge for peace and unity and assure the nation of exhibiting their political propaganda along with guided utterances in order not to plunge this nation into a state of chaos and political instability.
What Government of the day should do for Peace
The government of the day should try as much as possible to provide all the necessary things needed for the election. Certain government machinery should not be used to intimidate the other political opponents. Maximum security should be provided for all the Flag Bearers of the other political parties and Ghanaian as a whole when the need arises. Once it is the government in power, tolerance should be their hallmark and rather direct their energies in the promotion of peace.
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