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General News of Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Source: GNA

Use elections to punish corrupt politicians

Wa, Feb. 19, GNA - Madam Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Programmes Manager of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), has urged Ghanaian voters to use elections to punish corrupt politicians who bribed them to vote in their favour.

She said under the multiparty democratic systems voters had the right to vote out corrupt politicians in elections to encourage politicians to stay honest.

Mad Ofori-Kwafo said since the inception of the 1992 constitution four elections had been conducted in Ghana but expressed regret that it had never come to her notice that a politician had been punished for vote buying.

She said if corruption was allowed to continue in elections it could seriously undermine national developmental efforts as well as the peace and stability that the country had enjoyed over the past years.

Madam Ofori-Kwafo was addressing stakeholders at a two-day workshop on democracy and good governance at Wa on Monday which was on the theme: "Fighting corruption, an agenda for democracy and good governance". She said there was the need for the Electoral Commission to conduct credible elections and the citizenry participate actively in the elections.

This, she said, would provide them the opportunity to ensure that the electoral processes and procedures were free and transparent in their areas of voting.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative, (GII) a local chapter of the Transparency International (TI) a non-governmental organisation dedicated to curbing corruption in Ghana in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) organised the forum. Traditional rulers, religious leaders, security agencies, political party representatives and workers from the public and private sectors attended the forum, which sought to create awareness about the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on December 7 this year.

She said there was the need for the Electoral Commission to conduct credible elections and the citizenry to participate actively in the elections as that would provide them the opportunity to ensure that the electoral processes and procedures were free and transparent. Madam Ofori-Kwafo called for legislative and institutional reforms to stem the tide against corruption.

Madam Asibi Winifred Dy-Yakah, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, said corruption was an issue of concern for the government as its policy on "zero tolerance for corruption" was still in force.

She said some sections of the people had misconstrued government's declaration of zero tolerance for corruption to mean that government was slow in its approach to fight corruption. Mad Dy-Yakah said government had instituted laws to fight corruption in the system and urged Ghanaians to uphold the provisions of those laws to reap the benefits.

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