Monday, 2 February 2015

All Ghana's Political Parties Must Commit To Free And Fair Elections In 2016

No politician, who is truly desirous of ensuring the well-being of our homeland Ghana, and keen to promote the welfare of all the citizens of our country, will contemplate, let alone resort to violence of any description, because he or she had lost an election.

And no truly democratic political party, seeking power because it genuinely believes it can fashion policies that will create opportunities for all, which will lead to the creation of a prosperous society in Ghana, should tolerate extremist politicians who use indecorous language and are prone to violence, in its midst.

Tolerance is a prerequisite for a democratic culture in any society - and it must permeate all the structures of political parties and guide the actions of politicians.

One of the hallmarks of politicians (and political parties) genuinely committed to democracy, is a willingness to accept defeat at the polls in good faith - and having lost an election go on to pledge to do all that is humanly possible to help the victor serve Ghana and its people throughout his or her tenure.

Such a politician will never participate in sabotaging the nation-building effort whiles in the political wilderness - in the hope it will result in the ruling party failing: and becoming unpopular with the masses, and consequently end up losing power in the next elections.

That abominable and treasonable act of betrayal of ordinary people, which sabotaging the nation-building effort represents, has been a constant feature of opposition politicking since the inception of the 4th Republic - and both the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) have been guilty of it whiles in the political wilderness.

At a point in time when Ghanaians are increasingly demanding an adherence to good governance principles, by both public-sector and private-sector entities, political parties must be underpinned by an ethos of transparency and accountability.

In that regard, as public organisations, the NDC and NPP, which are both opaque in many ways, are really no longer fit-for-purpose.

It is no accident that none of them is prepared to reveal all their sources of funding to the world - in an age when Ghanaians demand such transparency from political parties and politicians.

They are both beholden to the vested interests that profit from our corrupt system - who want high-level corruption to persist in Ghana till the very end of time: so they can continue milking our nation in perpetuity.

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections, the NDC and NPP both need to act to restrain the powerful hardliners in their midst.

Unfortunately, it is precisely because of the baleful influence of those hardliners, that both parties have been guilty of underhand tactics - including intimidation and violence -  in their electoral strongholds, in previous elections under the 1992 constitution. We must no longer continue to tolerate such aberrations in our democracy.

That is why it is so outrageous to hear important politicians - some of whom also even happen to be members of Parliament - recommending that their party ought to resort to rigging the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections: because in their view their party lost the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections because they were rigged by their opponents.

Clearly, that is a recipe for disaster - and it is intolerable and totally unacceptable for politicians to make such inflamatory statements in our democracy. Politicians who make fiery speeches that inflame passions and polarise society do a great disservice to Ghanaian democracy.

The NPP's Kennedy Ohene Adjapongs and Bernard Antwi-Boasiakos, and the NDC's Robert Owusus must bow their heads in shame, in that regard.

Why do such too-clever-by-half, hardline politicians, have  the gall and audacity to act as if winning the 2016 elections is a divine right of their political grouping, I ask? Well, it isn't, actually.

And neither is the Republic of Ghana the private property, nor the plaything, of any politician or political grouping in our nation.

Their polarising and extremist pronouncements could tip Ghana over the precipice. Yet, the vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana, simply want to live in peace - and want a peaceful outcome to the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. Some of us are thoroughly fed up with their tiresome and endless posturing.

It is important that men and women of goodwill throughout the country, and civil society organisations dedicated to ensuring good governance and accountability in Ghana, act to take all the necessary steps needed to ensure that the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections are free, fair and violence-free.

Ghana's stability, and the peaceful atmosphere the country enjoys, are important factors in attracting investment into our nation. And continued investment in our national economy creates jobs for unemployed young people. We must all therefore ensure that Ghana remains peaceful after the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Above all,  it is important that politicians and political parties understand clearly that ensuring that our country remains peaceful and stable at all material times, is the best contribution to the nation-building effort, which they can collectively make, to ensure the transformation of Ghanaian society, into an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia.

That is why all the political parties in Ghana ought to pledge to ensure that they will not do anything that will mar the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections - and also commit to ensuring free and fair elections in each one of the 26,000 or so polling stations across Ghana. Ghana and its hard-pressed people deserve no less from the nation's political class and political parties.











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