Today is a special day for the whole country. It is the Constitution Day which is being observed for the second time running since it was first introduced in the country on January 7, 2019 as a public holiday.
The year 2020 itself is also a special year in the sense that the whole nation once again is gearing up for another crucial elections to elect a crop of political leaders to steer the affairs of state for the next four years.
It is even more special because this year happens to be the beginning of another decade full of promise, expectations and high hopes.
Significance of Constitution Day
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, under the Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, set January 7 each year to recognise the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution and the beginning of the Fourth Republic.
Since the day comes right after both the Christmas and New year holidays, many citizens continue to express varied opinions over the significance of the day.
But notwithstanding the pros and cons, January 7 in my view has come to stay and it will hold a lot of good for the country, if we deploy educative strategies to inculcate and reinforce civic educational values in the citizenry.
This year is also an election year and there is a lot at stake. Political parties are feverishly preparing to contest and win the 2020 polls. Predictably, during the watch-night church services on December 31, 2019, there were a litany of prophecies by some pastors on the possible outcome of Election 2020. While some of the pastors predicted a clear victory for the NPP others pointed to a done deal for the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
But can prophecies alone win election without hard work? Can the political parties really depend on these prophecies for election victory in 2020.
What these prophecies can do is to make political parties feel complacent ahead of the crucial polls and stagger the preparation of the parties to win an election.
New voters register
Already, electoral tension is rearing its ugly head within the political space as some parties are planning demonstration in regional capitals, beginning with the Northern Regional capital, Tamale, on Saturday, January 11, this year.
The six opposition political parties are not at peace with the Electoral Commission over the new voters register and have constituted themselves into a coalition dubbed "Inter-party Resistance Against the New Voters Register (IPRAN).”
At a press conference yesterday, the NDC, the People's National Convention, All People's Congress, the United Front Party, United Progressive Party and the Eagle Party, declared a nationwide resistance to the EC's decision to compile a new register for the 2020 polls.
In their view the move by the EC was not only a drain on the national coffers, but also a bane to peaceful elections.
We do not need such differences at this time and the EC will need all the support to make it work effectively, fairly and in the collective interest of all political parties and the nation.
Dialogue, compromises and buy-ins must be the watchword as we journey towards election, hopefully on December 7, 2020.
Two new political parties - Ghana Union Movement and Power Unity Party - have also received their final certificates from the EC to commence political activities in the country. While they are welcome as they strive to play their roles in seeking the mandate of the people, it will be prudent to caution them to conduct their political activities in a respectful, decorous and civil manner to maintain and safeguard the peace of the country.
What the citizenry and Ghana need at this material moment are issues-based campaigns which will place emphasis on how and where their bread will be buttered.
The sad spectacle is that out of the 26 or so certified political parties, most of them are moribund or have lost their voices but will suddenly find their voices during this election year.
The appeal is for all political parties to become constructive in their engagements and, particularly the smaller ones, not to play any bootlicking roles which does not augur well in nation building.
But while we are on the parties, the EC itself must continue to have a listening ear so as to bring everybody on board in the chain of election management process.