General News of Saturday, 20 August 2016
Pressure group Let My Votes Count Alliance (LMVCA) has urged all voters to stay at the various polling station after voting to monitor the exercise until the results are declared.
The LMVCA made the call at a public forum it held on Election 2016 under the theme: ‘Ensuring Credible Elections: The Role of the Electorate’ on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.
A statement issued after the forum said: “It was evident from the submission made by some members of the audience that there is an overwhelming lack of confidence in the commitment of the Electoral Commission to hold credible elections. As a result, the general consensus was that it is incumbent on the electorate to hold the officials responsible for elections accountable, and to ensure that elections are credible.”
It added: “As part of activities to preserve the integrity of the electoral process and to promote the consolidation of democracy in Ghana, LMVCA is embarking on a nationwide campaign to sensitise the electorate on the electoral process.”
The full statement is published below
“AFTER YOU VOTE, STAY VIGILANT AND PROTECT YOUR VOTE LMVCA URGES ELECTORATES”
The Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) held a Public Forum on Election 2016 under the theme “Ensuring Credible Elections; the Role of the Electorate” on Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at Alisa Hotel This event was the maiden edition of a nationwide campaign to sensitise the electorate on the need to be vigilant to ensure free and fair elections.
Present at the Public Forum were hundreds of stakeholders from civil society organizations, tertiary institutions, professional associations, political parties and media houses who were keen to join the discussion on how the electorate can ensure that elections are credible.
In his welcome address, Mr. David Asante Boateng, Convener of LMVCA, was emphatic that since elections are the basis for democratic legitimacy, it is imperative that elections are conducted in such a way so as to reflect the will of the people. He stated further that owing to the occurrences in the aftermath of the 2008 elections and the 2012 elections with its ensuing Election Petition, the “future of democracy in Ghana hinges on the December 7, 2016 elections”. He therefore called on the Electoral Commission to conduct credible elections to restore the confidence of Ghanaians in democracy and in the electoral process.
Each of the panellists reiterated the need for the electorate to be vigilant throughout the electoral process. Dr Aggrey Darko, a Political Science lecturer underlined the importance of credible elections in a democracy. In pointing out that democratic elections are inclusive, transparent and competitive, he emphasized the need for citizens to critique the Electoral Commission so as to make the institution more resilient. He also charged voters to value their vote and to desist from allowing material gifts to influence their voting decision.
Ms. Kathleen Addy, a social activist, highlighted the need for the electorate to contribute to discussions of national interest. She stressed that it is the responsibility of the electorate to ensure that the right government is elected. Ms. Addy therefore charged all registered voters to vote on Election Day. According to her, by not going out to vote for one’s preferred candidate, one is in effect voting for the other candidate.
During his presentation, Mr. Kofi Bentil, a lawyer and the Vice President of IMANI Ghana, expressed his disappointment in the verdict of the Election Petition which did not take into account the fact that five out of the nine Supreme Court Judges declared that there were irregularities during the 2012 elections.
He argued that the process of an election is just as important as its outcome, and without due process, elections cannot be credible. Thus, he called for vigilance by all, “There is nothing more efficacious than vigilance on Election Day”. The electorate must ensure that those who are not qualified to vote are not allowed to vote. He therefore charged all voters to stay at the polling station to police the ballot. He proposed that people form a filming chain to document the entire process. He further urged the electorate to insist that political parties recruit efficient party agents who are conversant with the electoral process, and who have a high level of proficiency with figures and numbers.
It was evident from the submission made by some members of the audience that there is an overwhelming lack of confidence in the commitment of the Electoral Commission to hold credible elections. As a result, the general consensus was that it is incumbent on the electorate to hold the officials responsible for elections accountable, and to ensure that elections are credible.
As part of activities to preserve the integrity of the electoral process and to promote the consolidation of democracy in Ghana, LMVCA is embarking on a nationwide campaign to sensitize the electorate on the electoral process.