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25.08.2004 Politics

No political party has monopoly over electoral fraud

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Accra, Aug. 25, GNA - The Reverend Professor Elom Dovlo, of the Department of the Study of Religions, University of Ghana, Legon, has dispelled the notion by some political observers that, it is only a political party in power that could engage in electoral fraud.

He noted that rigging of elections could occur when a political party has undue influence in a particular constituency, the proximity of some electoral areas, the time of dispatching electoral materials to polling stations, and during the counting of votes.

Rev. Prof. Dovlo, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, called on individuals, opinion leaders, pressure groups, political parties and other stakeholders in the Election 2004, to be vigilant and assist the Electoral Commission (EC) to check electoral malpractices that could mar the polls.

He called for the collective effort of Ghanaians to ensure free and fair elections, to consolidate the country's fledging democracy. Rev. Prof. Dovlo said although the EC was expected to provide the expertise, structures and materials for the election, the electorate must abide by the rules and regulations, to ensure incident free polls.

"If the EC is able to provide a levelling playing field for the political parties in the December election, and the electorate decide to by pass the arrangement to cheat and thereby creating violence, no one can blame the Commission."

Rev. Prof. Dovlo urged the National Commission on Civic Education, to educate Ghanaians on the need for credible elections for national development.

He called on the authorities to strengthen security at the polling stations to avoid vote rigging.

He advised the Government to ensure the independence and integrity of the EC by distancing itself from the Commission.

Rev. Prof. Dovlo expressed the need for the Judiciary, to be equipped, to be able to expedite action on electoral disputes that might occur to avoid tension and confusion.

He observed that a viable democracy depended largely on the Media and called on Journalists to ensure balanced reportage to enable the electorate to make informed choices.

Rev. Prof. Dovlo asked the political parties to explain their manifestos within the developments needs of the country and avoid attacks on personalities acrimony and animosity.

"Since the fundamental aim of political parties is to get the mandate of the electorate to govern, they should rise above parochial interests and tell the people about their track record and vision."

Rev. Prof. Dovlo said national efforts to check corruption would be defeated if the political parties influenced voters with gifts. He said such gifts should be devoted towards the elimination of hunger, diseases and ignorance.

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