The diminuendos of Ghanaian politics have trended every department of life, both public and private. The mere mention of elections is equated to violent bloody conflicts in the minds of many people and a call to acts of violence and hooliganism. The equation of politics to sounding war drums is a worrying development that must be cast-off.
Recent developments in the Ghanaian political landscape have made elections in the country a do or die affair. Individual aspirants irrespective of the level of elections resort to making promises that even political parties in government cannot deliver should they make such promises. What sprang most is when they try to waste human life for political power.
The winner-takes-all system of politics is deeply rooted in the Ghanaian politics where party faithfuls are rewarded base on their “visibility” during elections. Some candidates tag themselves to party hooligans or vigilante groups in a quest to win power. Though the activities these groups are against the law, the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the recent vigilantism Act, 2019 (Act 999), many candidates and political parties do associate themselves to these groups.
Parliamentary elections are won by candidates with simple majority votes and candidates who are eloquent, through ingratiation with groups, friends, brothers and sisters but not based on merit. This is indignation to us as a people and an impediment to development. In ‘politically matured jurisdictions with an enlightened voter population’, voting is based on policies and welfare and not relationship, ethnicity and/or religious affiliation.
The most worrying development is the initiation of the youth into the act of diverting their energies from development oriented activities to acts of violence and destruction with serious consequences for their future. The implementation of the Vigilantism Act, Act 999 has even made the penalties more daring but, how many of our youth are aware of this Act and its content? Answers to these questions are important but will not interest the political elite who are the direct beneficiaries of these acts.
Worldwide, the youth have remained central in every facet of national development and policy direction determination. Parents and guardians must step-up their responsibilities towards educating their young children on the effects of political hooliganism and vigilantism in the light of law and their personal development. They must lead by example and eschew any form of hooliganism or vigilantism. The youth should stand against any political party or candidate who wants to rely on this to ascend the political ladder.
Candidates and parties’ communicators should also abjure the use of vulgar words and ethnocentric words during their campaigns to intentionally create divisions to their advantage irrespective of the associated costs. Everybody should remain calm during the voter ID card registration exercise and on the day of elections, pick your voter ID card to the polling station and return home after casting your vote. Say no to violence anytime you are invited to it and report to the security for action.
COVID-19 is real; let’s endeavour to adhere to the prevention protocols while we go to our various polling centres to register. It’s everybody responsibility to protect yourself and others.
By Sinto Baluri Abdulai, a concern citizen