There is the incessant campaign from almost everybody to the youth not to go out and express their views on happenings concerning the 2020 general elections. This naïve expression is because they do not see the children of politicians in such demonstrations and peaceful protests.
This new chic of a clarion call can only be popular among tenderfoots who clothed themselves with the disingenuous attire of staying neutral in the midst of danger and a threat to our democracy. I wonder how a football aficionado can stay neutral in a game involving two competing teams and a referee who is expected to be fair to all the competing teams does not position itself as such?
The EC has demonstrated a high level of incompetence either deliberate or otherwise. At least since 2000 that I first voted and became politically conscious, I have never experienced such crass ineptitude from the EC. I could not have ever imagined that tabulating election results from 275 constituencies could in some stances be more than 100% or less. It is even rare for the EC to admit that they totally forgot to add the results from a whole constituency to the declared results.
For the first time in our history, a section of Ghanaians were deliberately disenfranchised from electing a leader to represent them in parliament. I cannot find words to describe this act or how to situate this in a proper context for a meaningful discussion. Parliamentary results for Techiman South has been gazetted yet it remains the only outstanding collated results yet to be published on the EC’s website. What stops the EC from giving the NDC official results declared as required by law governing the election.
However, all these errors/mistakes and its subsequent corrections never changed the initial official figures and percentages put out by the EC, indeed that is magical. I now believe that people can be promoted to their incompetence and this is a classical example. The EC as an institution must be defensive of its image and brand position. Recent happenings project a sharp departure from anything close to building confidence in them and the expectation of them to be fair at all times.
I am not sure people still have assurance in its integrity and transparency as it is supposed to be. Twenty-eight (28) uninterrupted years of the establishment of the EC should show their commitment to fairness and a transparent institution, they indeed should become masters of elections and demonstrate continuous improvement of their activities.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has a 21-member Eminent Advisory Committee, their role is to enhance engagement and interactions between the Commission and the Ghanaian Society. The composition of the committee is made up of men and women in good standing with enviable records in whatever field they found themselves in the course of their career.
This is the first time in the history of the EC that such an important committee has been formed. Amongst the expectations was to strengthen Ghanaians’ experience of the EC and create a platform and channel for regular dialogue and stakeholder engagement.
The committee is a body of prominent persons who can be trusted by the citizens to rise above partisan political sentiments; they are been reminded of the reason for which they were constituted. They are needed to help ensure justice and fairness to all competing interest, preserve the peace and stability.
Politics and its resultant effects affects every single aspect of human life; any attempt to stay off and pretend to be neutral smacks of hypocrisy. Remember four (4) years of bad governance could be likened to forty (40) years of retrogression in life. Clearly the NCCE has a lot of education to do most especially those who pretend not to know the effect and danger of the consistent change in position by the referee.
Political parties are not formed around individuals and family principles or ties, they formed around an ideology, set of objectives and its distinctiveness represent a character, people who believe in them assign to these principles and are willing to defend and in some instances “die” for them.
Any expression of dissatisfaction in the form of protest and demonstration can never be about a flagbearer of a parochial interest of a few. We sit in Ghana and stay overnight just to monitor elections in America, why do you think it is so? People show that interest because of the ideology that either the democrats or republicans represent which is demonstrated in their stewardship.
Football fanatics have grieved to death and other deliberated committed suicide because their teams have lost a game either fairly or were cheated by the referee. Sadly, others have been temperamental to the extent of killing their colleagues and friends due to football debate, how unfortunate it sounds.
In most instances, these are supporters who are far away from the leadership of the team, in actual sense nobody knows or recognizes them and are not even paid up members of the teams they so love to “die/killing” for.
This can only be possible because of the philosophy and ideology these teams represent. I do not equally see the children of football owners and administrators in the stands or visiting them at their training sessions. I cannot remember seeing the children of family members of any football owner and administrator or better still footballer during the unfortunate May 9th incidence at the Accra Sports stadium. Yet ordinary fans died and others maimed for life, we should then be saying nobody should visit the stadium to either watch a match or cheer a team up.
Non-royal members of communities and traditional families have died and some imprisoned due to chieftaincy disputes, where were the children of the chiefs they were fighting to defend? Perhaps they have their children schooling outside. Congregants have had standoffs with the police or land guards all in the name of defending their church doctrines. Perhaps the children of these church leadership stayed off such riots.
We have seen politicians whose children do not support their political association and agenda and have also ascribed to a different political grouping, we have seen siblings joining opposing parties. We have seen a spouse resigning from a party she struggled to help stay prominent and dominant and forming a new party that represents a total political ideology.
In any case, these recent demonstrations had regional and constituency executives leading the charge, what else were people looking for. As if that is not enough, minority MPs staged a walk to present a petition, they didn’t ask their supporters to join them in the street and that can only be an expression of leadership and commitment to a course of justice.
Demonstrations have been held since the 60s especially in the 4th republic, how many of the children of politicians did we see join such demonstrations. From 1995 till date, politicians have led demonstrations that saw the killing of innocent demonstrators, where were the children of those who led the protests?
Both NPP/NDC and politically affiliated groups like AFAG, Let My Vote Count Alliance, OccupyGhana etc have all led protests and we did hear this call of where are the children of the organizers. During the 2012 demonstration by the NPP after the declaration of the 2012 election results, did we see the children of any of the organizers? I do not remember, yet ordinary party supporters were in the streets to express their disagreement with the election and how unfair they had been treated.
I am not sure of the message we desire to send across to the families of those who died through demonstrations and protests. These dead persons and many others sacrificed their lives to deepen our democracy. I am not sure the demonstrators ever thought the children of politicians were part and must necessarily be part.
The constitution guarantees the unfettered right to a peaceful protest and demonstration, any law or call not to exercise this right is inferior to the constitution and must not be entertained in any way. We sit here in Ghana and support demonstrations and protest in America, this single act could be the highest expression of double standard.
The EU Observer Mission has described the election collation as very opaque, yet beneficiaries have described the 2020 general election as free, fair, transparent and safe. All these happened amidst shooting to death of innocent unarmed civilians.
The right to vote is fundamental in our democracy and it gives life to the idea of being governed by the elected few. Voters should therefore be guaranteed that their vote matters at all times. Casting the ballot is the single most powerful mechanism ever conceived to break injustice and oppression in any shape or form.
The right to vote is the only democratic leveler that serves as the converging point for the rich, poor, old, young, the haves and the have nots. Again the sacred platform that ensures freedom from bondage of unconsciousness. The fidelity of the entire election process must be rooted in truth and the exhibition of good conscience at all times which will result in a free, fair and transparent outcome.
Source: Bright Ampadu Okyere (An SDG Advocate) and Lead Partner SDG Alliance-Ghana Email: email@example.com Twitter: @ghanasdg Facebook: SDG Alliance-Ghana Tel. # 0244204664
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