Election 2020: Has the Voters' Register been sanitized enough?
On the 7th of December 2020, Ghanaians will once again have the opportunity to elect a President and Parliamentarians to steer the affairs of the nation for another term of four years.
This year's general elections would be the eighth since Ghana embarked on the constitutional rule in the Fourth Republic in 1992. Indeed, we have built a tolerant and working democracy.
For many electorates, what started as unexciting buildup towards the 2020 general elections is again heightening into apprehensions, and certainly so, because they could envisage dark clouds gathering on what should be a thrilling and peaceful election year.
During the compilation of the New Voters' Register, controversies surrounded it. Currently, the Voters' Register has been compiled with its Exhibition Exercise ongoing and here comes a lot of controversies. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and other Political Commentators are not just making allegations. Specific polling stations have been mentioned as well as the number of names missing from the voters' register. They can't fathom why the figures are so high.
We can all attest to the fact that, every system has its own deficiencies but it'll be in the interest of GHANA not NDC, NPP or any other political party to get the problems addressed. In the interest of transparency and good governance, the Electoral Commission must produce a Register fit for the purpose of the election. Ghana is bigger than any political party, hence any orchestrated plan by the EC to favor one is just like depriving Ghana the oxygen she needs to exist, function and survive. Faithfulness and loyalty to Ghana and not to any political party is key.
The government should as a matter of urgency and stability in this year's elections make the EC and its executives sit up as you owe this country our peace and notwithstanding their independence, they must be proactive because they are very slow in their reaction. They do not answer questions with exactitude, are not quick to deny or concede mistakes and what needs to be done. They must respond to queries with authority because these are serious issues.
I'm one person who supports the EC because she has been resolute to her principles and conducted the Voters' Registration exercise in a fairest manner as expected of her. But with the responses to issues, I must say it's not good enough, do not create any unfounded perceptions in the minds of the already disgruntled NDC with defeat staring them on the face to find cause for their defeat to you and your team.
Please, be vigilant and forthright with no room for anyone to contest the credibility of the results. If the need be, sanction heavily some of your negligent staff to serve as deterrent to others, because some may be playing mischief in the exercise.
The stakeholders including the electorate need to adhere to the rules and regulations and meticulously follow systems and procedure put in place by the Electoral Commission for a peaceful and competitive election. The EC should be given all the support it needs to ensure credible elections that reflect the will of Ghanaians. I'm not in any way saying that the stakeholders should remain dumb and unconcerned during the process. When they spot loopholes, they should channel their grievances in a manner that falls under the ambit of the law.
I think the EC must correct these unexplainable anomalies in the voters' register and provide a second window for verification before the Election Day. Madam Jean Mensa, be bold and conduct elections to the admiration of all international bodies and not to any political party. All eyes are watching! This is your friend, a citizen and advocate for free, fair and transparent elections.
I believe that elections are an important mechanism in democratic processes. Their purpose is to provide citizens with the opportunity to choose freely their political leaders and allocate power peacefully. Nonetheless, underlying tensions, inefficiencies and high-stake competition can also trigger violence.
In order to avoid any unforseen mayhem, we shouldn't be deceived into thinking that the successes chalked over the years are automatic and has become our birthright. Things don't work that way because when pride begins creeping in, the fall could be disastrous.
As Shakespeare stated, the world is a stage where everyone must play a part. Play your part to ensure peaceful elections in Ghana. The benefits outweigh the costs.
Ghana is all that we have and as citizens we must do all we can to preserve the peace of this country. I deem it a great pride that, in the epoch of this era conducting an election isn't going to be a piece of cake, but I am optimistic that we'll work together as Ghanaians to ensure peace. I have no doubts whatsoever that, at the end of the elections, Africa will have a good cause to be proud of us, and the rest of the world will find lessons to learn from us. Ghana's peaceful pride will forever flourish and beam. Ghana will win!
The author, Bright Philip Donkor is the CSA'20 Online Journalist of the Year; Political Commentator, Young Activist, Columnist and a Prolific Feature Writer.
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Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."