Many of the citizens only participate in decision-making during elections, by voting for a political party to govern the state. The 2020 general elections will open an opportunity for majority of the populace to take part in the decision making process of the country, at least on one occasion in their lifetime.
The policies of the political parties and their potential positive impacts on the economy and the lives of the people should be the alluring factors in this year’s general elections. Yet political parties’ enthusiast is engaged in acts of violence, which are very horrifying. These acts can provide a fertile ground for chaos on Election Day. The leaders of the various political parties and other stakeholders need to engage the youth on the need to have a peaceful election.
Acts of violence affect the performance of the country in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s democracy ranking. They have the chance of destroying the infrastructures, the communities and even the entire population in Ghana. The growth of the state does not end in an election year, and so the development of the state cannot end this year. Activities affecting the electoral processes and pluralism, civil liberties, political participation and political culture determine the nature and state of the democracy of the country. This puts excessive pressure on political parties to educate them on the desired activities that impact positively on the elements of good democratic practice.
We cannot afford to lose any of our citizens in violent acts. There is nobility in having a peaceful election, by choosing the suitable candidates (in the case of parliamentarians) and a President who can lead this country to the level commensurate with the status of the Country. Then, it behooves on all of us to respect the laws of the country and those guiding the conduct of elections to achieve this goal.
The Ghana Police Service has identified and released hotspots ahead of the December polls. This should not be the end: the police must engage other stakeholders in educating the people in those areas. All the laws regulating the conduct of elections and general behaviours of people should be applied strictly. Political parties should not shield their followers who engage in violent acts in such areas. The political parties sometimes serve as a hindrance to the enforcement of the law by the Ghana Police Service. The parties provide a veil for the recalcitrant party supporters.
Elections are democratic avenues that give the citizens an opportunity to choose persons and political parties to lead them and their institutions. Electoral violence will erode the gains made in the democratic journey of the country: the quality of work of the Electoral Commission will be impaired too. Elections are simple democratic decision-making processes that should not cost the state lives and money.
What must be done to ensure a peaceful election in 2020? The religious institutions: the Church, the mosque and schools - in the case of tertiary institutions, need to have series of meetings to educate their members. This education for the members of the state should have positive influence on the people. The experience we had in managing the emotions of the youth for a successful election in 2016 must be applied. All the political parties must arrange meetings for their followers, to discuss measures that will lead to a peaceful election.
December 7 is a blessed day for the country to rejoice in having citizens whose common goal is to seek partnership and unity in development. It should not be a day for our nemesis and that of the innocent children, who are the future of Ghana. Let Ghana be First on Election Day.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, A growing Activist and Religion Enthusiast.
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."