Politics of Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Source: Daily Graphic

Minors on register can lead to conflict - Bombande

The Electoral Commission (EC) has been asked to deal with the issue of minors in the biometric register before it degenerates into conflict during the December polls.

The Executive Director of the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Mr. Emmanuel Bombande, who made the call, stated that resolving the issues of minors in the register was critical to the success or otherwise of the polls, which are just about two weeks away.

After detecting that the biometric register was fraught with minors, the EC appealed to the parents of such minors to dissuade them from voting during the elections.

But Mr Bombande said the EC must do more by moving into communities with high rates of minors in the register to educate them.

According to him, with his 17-year experience in peace-building, it was better for the EC to find ways of dealing with the issue now, instead of waiting till Election Day, as that might be too costly for the nation.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Bombande stated that the situation was not as helpless as the EC had made Ghanaians to believe and that with determination, the Commission could find a solution before Election Day.

He explained that with the help of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and civil society organization, the situation could be remedied before Election Day.

Mr Bombande said it was important for the EC to liaise with the NCCE and civil society groups to embark on vigorous campaigns in areas or communities with high rates of minors in the register.

He said Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan’s statement that, “So if you cannot convince them, next time you go voting and there is somebody who appears to be eight years in front of you, patiently wait for him to vote” failed to sit well with him, saying it was only a recipe for disaster.

“Such an argument will not hold the emotions and anger of party representatives who may feel that such minors may be voting against them,” he said.

Mr Bombande said candidates who lost the elections might cite minors in the register as reasons for their defeat.