The political atmosphere in the country as at now seemed relatively friendly and worth participating. Everyone is going about this or her daily routine without fear or panic despite the fight for one’s dear life against the Coronavirus pandemic.
As if that isn’t worth the kind of people we really are, our politicians have learnt the art of using “fear propaganda” in changing the political sphere whenever it is an election year. The tension gets heightened and human social relation becomes a drama like cat and a dog, to say the least.
The Electoral Commission (EC) is in heat of the political environment as it maintains its position to compile a voter register albeit the numerous agitation from some political parties. It is veracious to accept that the 1992 constitution mandated them to do an independent work devoid of political interference. But what is worth keeping than a society of peace? It is however unclear as to why the incumbent government seems to be more supportive of the idea to compile the new voter register.
A news report filed on Ghana web stated MP of Assin Fosu Central, Honourable Kennedy Agyapong speaking on the subject on Happy FM explained why the NPP is bent on supporting the EC to change the register. According to the report, the politician mentioned that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has rigged the old voters’ register to favour them hence, the need for a new one.
“The NDC and vendor, Superlock Technologies Limited (STL) have put in place a system where the party effortlessly polls 1.5million votes prior to the elections”, he said. This position he juxtaposed saying that the NDC is assured of 1.5 million votes if the old voter register is maintained.
This has raised alarm on the credibility of the 2016 election. This is because is the same voter register which saw the incumbent government into power is considered rigged, then there is the need to question the legitimacy of the government in power because what it then means is that the decision of the Electoral Commission in 2016 declaring a new government doesn’t represent the will of the people.
The NDC also held several press conferences opposing the proposal for many reasons, an action which can threaten a peaceful election. By these ongoing debate among political parties, Civil Society Organizations ( CSOs) and the Electoral Commission, it a breeding ground for election violence if not properly addressed by various stakeholders and well-meaning citizens.
While they, the politicians sit to plan how they can change our thoughts and feel towards a perceived event come December, let us, the citizens, who are regarded consumers in the spirit of political marketing, become very wise and stand to our right to peace and stability. We can change how political actors set us into motion and control us with cheap propaganda.
We must let them know we don’t make our decision to vote for any one of them only in the election year. Let’s display our evolutionary characteristics of the postmodern consumers. “By their seeds, you shall know them”, as the good book quoted, we have long known who they are and we made our decisions towards what’s our best.
Campaigns are not to turn war chants, but a purely ideological battle, engaging on intellectual debates healthy for the development of nation Ghana.
The best gift political actors can afford the nation in an election year is a peaceful atmosphere to enable us to hold on to our heritage and businesses. The election is not the life citizens, though, to a larger extent, it is, but an event not more than life. We can’t allow an event of a day run us down to guns and bloodshed.
If the politicians can understand our needs, they will prioritize citizens overpower, and peace over fame. Sometimes it feels as though they have a special country they belong and are aliens here.
Guided media content, responsible propaganda and patriotic citizens, who won’t allow themselves be used as tools in the hands of selfish propagandists, are the surest weapons to guide our conduct as we peacefully await December 2020.
The media must uphold the principles of democracy ensuring that there are political actors are held accountable to their actions and inactions knowing well it owes it’s loyalty to the citizens as an independent monitor of power. It must in its line of duty stimulate healthy political debate devoid of side taking by setting the right agenda to help citizens make informed decisions on whom to vote. The media must also provide equal opportunity and representation of various political parties to avoid been biased.
For a peaceful election come December 2020, the clergy has a role to play, the National Peace Council has a role to play, various religious organizations have a part to play by conscientizing the masses on the need for a peaceful atmosphere. It must start as early as possible before the heated period. The National Commission for Civic Education ( NCCE) must educate citizens on their right to chose their candidates by their own will not be influenced.
Let it not be more than an event of life, for with life we live to see another election. The change of government should not be the exchange of lives and properties.
The writer, Patrick Kofi Akpese is a student journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism(G.I.J).