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Mon, Sep

Let’s create a conducive atmosphere for elections

Election 2016 is only eight days away

Election 2016 is only eight days away but there are still some pockets of politically motivated violence across the country.

We all know that the success of any election is largely dependent on a peaceful atmosphere that will provide the needed fillip to enable the electorate to cast their votes.

Wherever there is confusion, chaos or anarchy, citizens fail to turn up to cast their ballots for fear of attacks from opponents.

When that happens, it impacts negatively on the elections by lowering the numbers that take part and also removes the essential elements needed for successful elections — freedom and fairness.

To achieve that, all the stakeholders must operate on a level playing field.

That is why the Daily Graphic sees the caution by a member of the security task force, Commissioner of Police (COP) Mr Christian Tetteh Yohuno, to security personnel who will be deployed to polling stations not to take part in the administration of the elections as very timely.

Indeed, as he stated, it is not the duty of security personnel to check the voter ID cards of voters, assist persons to vote or tell any person the candidate to vote for.

The duty of the security personnel who will be stationed at the polling stations is only to ward off troublemakers by their sheer presence and also keep the peace by intervening in any actions that could degenerate into violence.

We believe too that it is not only security personnel who should be wary of gifts because they could be misinterpreted; members of the public must also not try to offer any kind of ‘humanitarian’ assistance to the personnel, since they would be adequately catered for.

In the past, elections were characterised by drunken voters and even security personnel sent to man the polling stations, the bussing of voters and the use of stones to form queues, all of which, if repeated this year, are likely to cause disturbances if not checked.

We, however, urge the security personnel not to be in a hurry to use their anti-riot equipment such as truncheons, shields, tear gas and water cannons and only employ them when their lives are threatened, as the failure to do that could also result in grave consequences.

In the remaining eight days to Election 2016, we urge the security agencies not to only assure all Ghanaians of a peaceful atmosphere to cast their ballots; they must also demonstrate their readiness to deal with any insurgencies without creating fear and panic.

So much has been said about political vigilante groups and the so-called ‘macho men’ who are hired to steal ballot boxes and generally cause fear and panic to intimidate a section of the public.

That is not the democracy we have subscribed to and we urge all political parties and contesting candidates to refrain from  intimidating others.

Meanwhile, we urge the security agencies to respond expressly whenever there are any reports of suspected hooligans even before the elections get underway on December 7.

Let us all resolve to have peaceful elections.