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STATESMAN OPINION: All Rests On The EC To Ensure Violence-Free Election   
 
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08-Sep-2016  
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Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei, has warned that the December 7 presidential and parliamentary elections could be marred by violence, citing what she calls “the volatile” political atmosphere in the country ahead of the polls.

She cites the proliferation of arms, rising levels of alcoholism and drug abuse, as well as the high level of unemployment, among the youth as the most serious threats to the country’s peace ahead of the December elections.

Addressing a colloquium on peaceful elections in Ghana yesterday, the EC boss said research had shown that the unemployed youth are the most vulnerable group who are likely to be used by political leaders to foment violence in the elections.

“We are going into elections where one party believes it must win and the other believes it cannot lose.

However, it’s a contest where there is going to be one winner and many losers. So in spite of all the preparations and the experience we have, this election is beginning to look like a volatile event,” she warned.

The fact cannot be gainsaid that the stakes are very high in the upcoming December 7 elections. And we at the Daily Statesman are happy the EC boss fully recognizes his fact.

President John Mahama and his governing National Democratic Congress are aware they have failed miserably in the management of the affairs of the country, and so have become very unpopular with the electorate that has resolved to vote them out of power.

Yet, they have given the clearest indication that they will employ all means, fair and foul, to retain power to perpetuate their maladministration, and to continue to provide opportunity for ‘family and friends’ to further their ‘create, loot and share’ enterprise.

They also know very well the financial wreck of cosmic proportion they have caused the nation through their corrupt acts and naked looting of the national coffers, and so, like former Transport Minister Dzifa Attivor, they fear leaving power means the law could catch up with them for their misdeeds.

On the other hand, the main opposition leader, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the New Patriotic Party, are fully aware of the ‘anger’ from Ghanaians that will be visited on them if they should fail to win the upcoming elections. They also appreciate fully the far-reaching ramifications for the future of the NPP, if they should fail to win the upcoming elections.

This is particularly against the background of the fact that the suffering Ghanaians have amply indicated their readiness to use the NPP as the ‘vehicle of redemption’ from the current state of despondency unjustifiably imposed on them by the inept, clueless and corrupt Mahama government.

This is how much the upcoming elections mean to the two main political parties in the contest, and we at the Daily Statesman have never thought the men and women at the Electoral Commission, especially the Chairperson, are dead to this reality. At all cost one of the major political parties will win while the other loses.

But the most critical issue has to do with the conditions under which the declaration of a winner and losers will be made. And this is where the umpire, the EC, must conduct its affairs in a manner that will engender a reasonable amount of trust in the entire electoral process, a condition that is required for the eventual winner and vanquished to accept the outcome of the elections.

It is very unfortunate that with barely three months to the December polls, serious doubts still exist about the credibility, independence and neutrality of the EC. This doubt is not only among some political parties but among a huge section of Ghanaians, who still doubt the 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court, in the case of the Presidential Election Petition, that President Mahama “was validly elected.”

The EC Chairperson is absolutely right when she cautions that the December polls could be marred by violence.

But we at the Daily Statesman want to tell Charlotte Osei and her EC that all rest on them to ensure that the country goes through violence-free elections on December 7. That is all that Ghanaians expect from them. Nothing more; nothing less!
 
 
Source: Daily Statesman
 
 

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