On 27th December, 2018 saw the Electoral Commission’s first test on organizing election in Ghana. This was referenda to aiding the creation of New Regions in Ghana. The anticipation for new regions had been in the manifesto of both NDC and NPP prior to election 2016, however only NPP had the mandate to make such a historical implementation. Surprisingly, the referenda whose budgetary allocation hovered around Ghs 932m, according to the 2018 budget was saturated with a lot of election malpractice. We can say that the referenda was free but will take another look on whether it was fair.
A lot of standards were not met in the referenda, media reports, eyewitness observers and leak video of an electoral official revealed there were plethora of election malpractice.
To mention few, some areas started voting with only manual verification, hence ignoring the biometric verification. No matter how dangerous it may be, EC officials found themselves moving and even asking for directions to polling stations without any security escort. As if that was not enough, electorates and some prominent people were wearing T-shirt which had YES inscribed boldly in it, yet had the chance to cast their ballot.
All these arguably, such electoral misdemeanour will never have gone easily, provided it was a main election. The entire country was drag to court after 2012 election, just because an EC official could not write the exact figures in words and many other thing even those you and I were not there. This has proven to me, beyond reasonable doubt, the two giant political parties (NPP and NDC) see the need to waste youthful energy and blood when they directly borne the collateral damage of election malpractice. The aim has always been to win power no matter what the cost may be, however, I am worried because in most instances my able youth become the pawns in the political chess games of NPP and NDC.
In the referenda, the usual policing of ballots boxes by ‘macho’ men instead of security personnel were not seen. All political election vigilantes groups cared less about the referenda, that is a good sign, and they should not surface during election 2020 On January 3rd, NDC held Press Conference on the conduct of the Referenda on the creation of six new regions and matters arising. Clearly, the 33-paragraph statement, focus only on how the malpractice and electoral infractions of the Jean Mensah led EC, in the referenda will not be tolerated, in case same instance is repeated during the election 2020.
There were more threats than recommendation. In the conclusion, the statement said ‘we stand prepared to defend our democracy and we ask all and sundry especially progressive friends to join us in that endeavor’. Citizens must understand that political parties are ready to defend our democracy so long as it serves their interest. I do not seek to change the reasoning abilities of every youth, but the few who have ears to listen and know that these political parties are only for their own gains, and how to win the next election. It’s said that old men creates chaos, but young men fight during the chaos. Able youth should not jeopardize their energy and future. Just wise up.
Nathaniel Dwamena He is a researcher and development manager at ILAPI. Center for Political Party Studies at the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI)
© Rasarp Multimedia Inc and ilapi.org.v1.2.0™ - 2019