British High Commissioner to Ghana has urged government to deal with political party vigilantism during elections because it risks damaging Ghana’s global reputation as a stable democracy.
Speaking at STAR Ghana’s launch of election 2020 projects in Accra, Iain Walker said although Ghana’s effort to tackle the problem is commendable, there is still more to be done. “I acknowledge the efforts of the President of Ghana [Nana Akufo-Addo] to deliver independent investigations under Parliament of Ghana and for passing the Vigilantism Act, however, I think with the impact and effectiveness of that, several measures are not yet untested,” he said.
He said the effectiveness of these measures to fight vigilantism may not work if only a few political parties commit to resolving any issues with legal means. “Violence at elections not only harms the Ghanaian people, it really risks damaging Ghana’s hard-fought and well-earned reputation globally,” he stressed.
To prevent vigilantism during elections, drastic measures must be put in place to avoid a repetition of Ayawaso West Wuoguon by-elections brouhaha, Mr Walker said. He also called on stakeholders, especially the judiciary, security services, and electoral commission who participate in general elections, admonished that they carry out their duties without fear of political inference so they maintain their credibility.
The British High Commissioner said he was confident that Ghana will be able to sustain its strong track record by conducting a free and fair 2020 general election.
Meanwhile, Chairperson in charge of operations at the Electoral Commission, Samuel Tettey, indicated that for the country to enjoy a free and fair election, electorates need to be well informed to equally take part in the electoral process and be law-abiding citizens.
Mr Samuel Tettey further noted that vigilantism, electoral violence, campaign and manifesto influence have been the major challenge in the Ghanaian electoral process.
He said, “the EC as part of its preparations towards the 2020 elections will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to facilitate and enhance the creation of an electoral environment that is free from impediments to the enjoyment of the already mentioned rights and freedoms and support and encouragement of active citizenship.”