Vote Buying: We’re Equally Guilty As Delegates - Sam George To Parliamentarians

Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Samuel George Nartey has begged to differ on the move by some of his colleague Parliamentarians blaming delegates and electorates only for the monetization of elections in the country.

“I am not afraid to speak the truth . . . we should be bold to speak the truth. What I said in Parliament is simple, that Parliamentarians should not stand in Parliament to speak as if we are angels. We should not solely blame the delegates for the vote-buying, but rather we must equally share the blame for initiating the giving,” he reproached.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have debated passionately about the issue of vote-buying at parliamentary primaries and elections at the national level.

This was after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Kumbungu constituency, Ras Mubarak, raised the issue in a statement made on the floor of Parliament.

According to the MP who lost the parliamentary primary in his constituency in the Northern Region, there should be ‘fast-tracked’ legislation by Parliament to outlaw all forms of inducement that would have a direct effect on voting in any elections.

But Sam George on Okay FM’s 'Ade Akye Abia' Morning Show challenged his fellow colleague Parliamentarians to deny looking for financial assistance during the Parliamentary primaries and the main elections in 2016 in order to win the primaries and the elections.

“If there is any of such a person in the House, the person should get up to receive applause. Ras Mubarak, who has now realized that vote-buying is destroying the fiber of democracy, did he not give out items during the 2016 general elections? Even with the current primaries he attended, did he not share things with the delegates?” he rhetorically asked.

He, however, was emphatic that Parliamentarians cannot escape the blame in vote-buying; thus, "we cannot lay the blame at the doorstep of the delegates or Ghanaians alone. We are part of the problem and if we are going to address the issue of monetization in politics, we must, first of all, admit that we are part of the problem.”

He admitted that his contest with E.T Mensah in 2015 did not happen without money exchanging hands as he did not go to the delegates with empty hands; thus, Ras Mubarak cannot escape blame during the 2015 primaries as he used the method to take over the seat from the incumbent at the time.

“ . . today if things have changed and you come to Parliament to speak as if we are angels, nobody will take us seriously in this country. I said in Parliament that it is not a good practice but if we want to discuss such an issue and find a lasting solution to it, we have to, first of all, speak the truth and be honest with ourselves. We should look at the MPs who camp delegates during primaries and the MPs or candidates who share items,” he begged to differ.

He indicated that the delegates and electorates do not point guns at candidates to give them items or money during elections as such politicians should desist from such behavior before accusing delegates of receiving money to vote.  

“If everybody will accept that it is not good and we don’t share things, I am sure nobody will engage in it; it is a demand and supply thing. If no candidate is offering goodies, delegates will still come and vote . . . ,” he stated.

He reitirated that fighting monetization of elections starts with the politicians then it goes to the delegates and finally the electorates.

"Do you blame a delegate who has heard that a candidate is throwing money around? How do you blame such a person?” he asked.