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26.07.2004 Feature Article

Towards A BulletProof Election

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Ghana and the United States of America do not necessarily share a lot in common with respect to history, antecedent's, foreign policy et al. The global influence the latter wields as a result of its status as the world's surviving superpower towers far and above Ghana's past and current geo-political ambitions.

We used to hold our Presidential elections (post-PNDC) on the same day until the Electoral Commission of Ghana changed the date. Four years ago Ghanaians went to the polls to pick the next occupant of the Castle on the 8th of December. Across the Atlantic, Americans from all walks of life had cast their vote a month earlier. The odds of something dramatic and violent occurring in the US elections was almost zero to nothing. Our African address or call it geo-political considerations and past history of electoral violence and political instability that has been the bane of our politics made the coverage of our election a “sure thing” for the world press.

We all know which of the two countries hogged the spotlight for months long after the polls had closed and I am not going to bore readers with what they know already.

A lot has changed since the Florida debacle. The electoral process in that State which is governed by Jeb Bush, the younger brother of the current US President has undergone a lot of transformation all in the bid to forestall another national embarrassment. A lot of education and orientation has taken place to sensitize and to inform the electorate especially those in the predominantly African-American counties on the use of the e-voting mechanism so there isn't a reoccurrence of last four years'.

Ghana has also gone through a period of voter registration. During the month that it lasted new voters were registered, the register was cleaned of all the dead (somehow) and for good measure picture ID's were provided for all registered voters. The hullaballo over the exercise notwithstanding it appears the coast is clear for history to be made yet again-that is the handover of power in a civil manner-the democratic way.

VIOLENCE, CIVIL WAR, LIBERIA

Ghana's democratic experiment- as I choose to characterize it- is still in transition, which means a lot of work needs to be done to ground it and make it strong and enduring. In its present state our democracy is like a building with its scaffolding still in place.

The project of building an enduring democracy is a job the present generation cannot shy away from. It is our duty to take our place and make our time count as we build a democracy that can stand for ages.

However comments and statements credited to top-notch political personalities and organizations have only raised the political temperature in the country and left many Ghanaians naturally worried and apprehensive. For those of us who were in the country during the last two elections and also covered it this is dejavu. However we have to make sure we guard against complacency and smugness. We need for all Ghanaians to be vigilant and watchful. While we have to alert the authorities of any untoward, clandestine activities, we also have to be smart enough not to allow ourselves to be drawn into these actions that would not serve any good purpose than to undermine the electoral process and destroy what has taken years to build.

It is either you are part of the solution or you are the problem. There is no middle ground. While at it we also wish to appeal to our politicians be mindful of the comments they make because they might come back to haunt them. Paa Kwesi Plange For Gye Nyame Concord (paakwesiplange.com still under construction. Will be up and running soon) Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Paa Kwesi Plange
Paa Kwesi Plange, © 2004

The author has 52 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: PaaKwesiPlange

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