Executive Director of Good Governance Africa, a policy think tank, has urged Ghanaians not to allow themselves to be used as a conduit for violence in the December polls next week.
Mrs. Tina Asante-Apeatu advised the electorates not to break any laws regarding the electoral system of the country but rather asked them to go out in their numbers and cast their votes.
According to her, it’s prudent for the electorates including stakeholders in the electoral system to abide with the rules and regulations set out by the Electoral Commission (EC).
“Don’t break the law . . . follow the rules and at the same time, the people in power should also treat people equally. Security men should treat us all equally. We’re all Ghanaians first before any other thing. Nobody is above anything. If you break the law, expect to be punished for it. But if A is punished, B must be punished too and that I’m sure nobody will complain.
“You don’t know what you have until you have lost it . . . So, let’s jealously guard what we have by making sure that we’re each other’s keeper,” she told Peacemfonline.com in an interview.
She further lambasted the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) for failing to educate the citizenry about the elections.
She noted that there’s little education being done by the NCCE and so urged the Commission to execute their official duties effectively.
Mrs. Asante-Apeatus further indicated in a statement that “murmuring and complaining about the state of the economy among your friends and neigbours does not have any impact on the development of the nation. Voting ensures you are part of the decision on who runs the country and the affairs of your constituency. Voting gives you the moral right to question the activities of government officials and the decisions they make. If you do not vote, it denotes a lack of interest in the affairs of the country and thus a consequent lack in capacity to criticize those who run the country. Voting means you can choose a candidate who suits your views and who will best represent your interests both in the Presidency and in Parliament.”
She admonished Ghanaians who have decided not to vote to note that “if we are apathetic and decide not to vote, posterity will judge us” and so, urged Ghanaians to “go out and vote. It’s your right.”
Good Governance Africa is a policy think tank that has particular interest in educating the public on their rights as well as reviewing the issues regarding the governance system in the country.
As part of the activities of the think tank, it liaised with the EC to conduct objective researches on some flashpoint areas in the country, particularly Oforikrom at Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Suhum and Tarkwa in the Eastern and Western Regions respectively.
Read full statement below:
STATEMENT BY GOOD GOVERNANCE AFRICA (GGA, WEST AFRICA)
ON GHANA’S 2016 GENERAL ELECTIONS
“GO OUT AND VOTE, IT’S YOUR RIGHT”
“I am not voting; the only reason I have a voter’s ID card is to be able to go to the bank. I do not have time to join long queues just to vote someone into power.”
These and other similar comments are heard time and again from people from all walks of life; educated and non-educated alike; mostly during general elections season in Ghana. Interestingly, these are the same individuals who will spend endless hours complaining about whatever government in power is doing right or not; ie. lack of development, corruption and all round hardship in the country.
To those people who behave in this manner, we say you have yourself to blame!
First of all, murmuring and complaining about the state of the economy among your friends and neigbours does not have any impact on the development of the nation. Voting ensures you are part of the decision on who runs the country and the affairs of your constituency. Voting gives you the moral right to question the activities of government officials and the decisions they make.
If you do not vote, it denotes a lack of interest in the affairs of the country and thus a consequent lack in capacity to criticize those who run the country. Voting means you can choose a candidate who suits your views and who will best represent your interests both in the Presidency and in Parliament.
To the people who say, “Mine is just one vote, it doesn’t matter”, we say “Your one vote really does matter”. One vote can decide who wins an election in Ghana and is put in charge of policies and programs that affect your life. Leaving decisions that affect your life to other people is dangerous.
It means that even decisions that could harm you and benefit other persons can be made on your behalf. Unfortunately, we do not realize that not voting is a surefire way to this path, a path where our views are not represented in government and where our quality of life compromised. Remember, the winning percentage in general elections in Ghana is 50%+1, that 1 is your vote.
Ghana has undergone various stages of government; colonialism, military rule and now multi-party democracy. People have died in the effort to rid the nation of colonialism and military rule. Martyrs have been imprisoned, beaten and tortured so that you can have the right to exercise your franchise to decide on who governs you. To refuse to vote is a spit in the face and on the graves of these brave individuals.
Also, let us as citizens not forget that in voting, the lives of future generations hang in the balance. Decisions of government that we choose not only affect us but also our children and children’s children. Social and economic policies adopted by governments in power have far reaching consequences.
The effect of developmental projects undertaken by any government, go a long way to impact even generations yet to come. For example, the Akosombo dam as well as Tema and Takoradi Ports constructed by the Nkrumah government are still in use more than half-a-century later. Equally, our national debt, which accumulated over time by various governments are still affecting our national economy till date. Therefore, if we are apathetic and decide not to vote, posterity will judge us.
As we go to the polls on Wednesday, December 7, 2017, let us remember the following quote from George Jean Nathan:
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who don’t vote.”
And let us go out and vote because it is our right to vote.
Mrs. Tina Asante-Apeatus
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