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General News of Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Source: GNA

Defend integrity of the ballot - Lecturer to Ghanaians

Dr Amoako Baah, lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has called on Ghanaians to take keen interest in the 2016 general election to ensure sanity, free, fair and transparent process.

He said though there would be security personnel to police the ballot, it required all citizens to be vigilant to prevent any form of electoral malpractices aimed at favouring a particular political party.

Dr Baah was addressing a forum at the Tamale campus of the University for Development Studies (UDS) organised by Let My Vote Count Alliance, a political
pressure group, on Tuesday.

Dr Baah indicated that if citizens failed to exercise their responsibility by protecting the ballot in a non­violent manner, the integrity of the upcoming elections was likely to be compromised.

He claimed that the Electoral Commission (EC) had no power in disqualifying any presidential aspirant as it had done to some presidential hopefuls, saying:

“The EC has no power in deciding for Ghanaians which political parties are qualified to participate in this election.”

The academic also observed that the EC was taking unilateral decisions which were not positive to the democratic ideals that the country had taken upon itself.

According to him, the intransigence on the part of the EC to enforce the recent court decisions is inimical to the judicial process.

“This is your country, you must stand up for Ghana and defend the integrity of the people…this is your only home,” he charged, stressing that in established
democracies, people did not police the ballot.

Dr Baah claimed that because the citizens were not vigilant, overseas votes of 240,000 were not counted in the 2012 elections, stressing that citizens’ vigilance would prevent such errors from occurring in the 2016 polls.

Professor Kenneth Agyeman Atafuah, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Central University, said integrity of this year’s elections was the oxygen to the country’s rule of law and good governance.

He said elections were processes of building pillars of integrity which was a prerequisite for the advancement of democratic governance, noting that the growing indiscipline on crime and social life had made it mandatory for citizens to assist in building a better society.

Mr David Asante, Convener of Let My Vote Count Alliance, said the pressure group was mounting series of public fora across the country to create awareness
that elections must be won through the ballot box and not any other means.

He urged the electorate to remain resolute in defending the ballot box in the December general election.