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Opinions of Monday, 22 June 2020

Columnist: AK Adam

Poor management efficiencies and polarization

Will Ghana ever have anything credible and unanimously accepted by all parties in Ghana?

In fact, the essence of democracy has been defeated and now turns into the same fears that people use to have against military rules. Following the inception of democracy in Ghana for the fourth republic has also brought about hullabaloos, disrespect, vulgar expressions, impunity to our Ghanaian cultures, and very high polarization of everything including the canker of corruption and bribery practices. It is sad to see the youth of today joined political parties to showcase their intelligence but which are a detriment to the current affairs and future growth of Ghana.

This is because it appears everybody started everything at a youthful age but those days from President Nkrumah up to President Jerry John Rawlings times, we saw how at least young people were being groomed with respect and dignity. But the same cannot be said when one look at the current practices of the youth from the fourth republic.

Some of the youth of today in politics are not groomed like those days, it is like open door entry, hence they exercise a lot of arrogance and disrespect to the elderly in society and in their parties because they feel too busy and too important since they have people praising them wrongly instead of correcting them. For instance, if you are a young man and joined politics what shows that you should exhibit arrogance, loudmouth, disrespect to the elderly and clergymen or most leaders in society?

As Ghana propagate itself of democracy it must first change institutional structures in which students organisations operates without allowing them to have that totalitarian authority within the national institutions. Students organisations must be put under the institution's administrations to constantly guide and direct the activities of students. Students are basically admitted to learn and be taught rightfully and not wrongly by the same institutional policies teaching them how to influence and be influence by corrupt practices.

The trend is that any bad practice a student learns in school follows them out into the public life and hence, such practices will be perpetuated wherever they find themselves. This is the kind of canker our institutions seem to be building into the public sectors of Ghana and that does not help. Ghana is too big than an individual or few and so any one person with an exception is not enough for us to pride ourselves with. It is only when the majority of Ghanaians are doing well in many sectors in practice but not a few. If some young people wrongly have the impression that the way to do politics in Ghana is by insulting people and show casing arrogance, no, some of us are not trained like that.

The Ghana that I envisage is to exercise youthful democracy that will exhibit intelligence with true patriotism and respect in society by training those who follow them. Aside from that, the cheap and loose airwave stations must be properly directed to do their business and politics but not wrongly teaching the young ones as if it is an intelligence to sit on an airwaves station and shout and insult people. Such bad practices must stop if not how can we be respected by outsiders?

Even the journalist must change their ways since many of them have lost credibility and practice because they play double or many games in the political terrain in Ghana. Hence, their messages or write-ups are like water passing through, nobody want to read or believe them again because of their own inconsistencies in practice towards political leniency.

With regards to the constant voter registration disagreements in Ghana goes to prove that we are not a serious nation because from the onset since technology is in abundance we should have done the needful by employing good technology into our systems and stop spending money on registration of voters all the time A poor mans country and we do things as if we have everything in abundance. It appears governments never understand cutting down cost but what politically will suite them is what they pursue. This is unfortunate to the democracy we practice. Hence, Ghana is like a treadmill economy.

As a country the first thing we should have taken seriously is the locations of citizens and their possible addresses which this current government has tried to do with Ghanapost but with wrong processes and strategies. In Ghana, all citizens data and history must be captured into a master national database which I think National Identification Authority (NIA) is trying to do as Ghana Card but also wrong processes and strategies. Because of bad mindset of political parties in power they always turn to produce “witchcraft policies” that are not strategic for the acceptance by all. I have the conviction that it is not everything that Parliament passes that represent the general acceptance of Ghanaians since at times there are no public knowledge of some Legislative Instruments (LIs) and policies they passed. The educated politicians as MPs and Ministers must up their games seriously for the growth of this country.

The reasons why we constantly have disagreements against voter register by Electoral Commission (EC) is that we don’t plan for the country as a whole but for a political party in power which alone is bad and unfortunate to the democracy we practice. If not for political expediency by all the parties that have been in power in the fourth republic we would not have back and forth issues of voter register all the time.

It is also because clearly the parties don’t want to help the country as a whole but only for their political parties in power, period. Hence the issue of patriotism and nationalism is not present in Ghana at the moment with all the political parties, which is why we find it difficult to work in unity as a nation. We started democracy on a wrongful foundation and therefore something must change in the constitution to give everybody including the political parties the confidence to feel that Ghanaians are one and that policies or strategies must benefit the masses and not only political party in power. The absence of the latter is the main reason why there is always contention between political parties and EC.

Hence, for us to have a credible voter register first we must have good systems in place, that is, a master database with proper citizens location and possible addresses and history which EC and any other organization can dwell on for their verifications of citizenship and eligibility. Aside from the voter registration system there must be new registrations ongoing at any time a citizen feels qualified to register by walking into the EC offices or through an enabled online system on EC official website for new registrants.

Let's stop messing up the society by not educating those who don’t understand or know nothing about technology to rather seem to be making decisions and pronouncements which I think it is wrong because everything about ECs work has to do with expert knowledge in management techniques for efficiency including technology in modern trends of data related issues.

So, people must be educated first before they get involved in voter register matters, Ghana already started everything on a wrongful foundation and we need to correct that as people going forward. For me organizing voter registration all the time is a misplaced priority in a poor country. It must not be about political parties but the nation's growth from strength to strength.

Therefore, EC must be more professional and work as a publicly independently institution and making rules and policies that favours or represent Ghanaians. EC must prove that they are not condoning from this notion that in the eyes of Ghanaians that they work for any government in power.

This means the constitution must also be amended to make the EC's work and decisions unilateral. If the majority of Ghanaians sees ECs work as professional and represents the people, no amount of opposition or disagreement will surface. Since the fourth republic, the EC has not been in tune yet and so more room for improvement. All must help them to do good for the country.

For instance, lets see how voter registers are done in some of the advanced countries like the UK and America as a contrast to our Ghanaian system.

According to Wikipedia.org's official website, it stated that Electoral rolls which have various names used by different countries such as United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, and Australia but not in all jurisdictions are required to have voter registration before voting especially North Dakota State in the USA. That in most jurisdictions they close updating of electoral rolls for up to some period such as before 14 or 28 days to election.

But some USA jurisdiction allow voters registration at the same time as and when they are going to the polling station to cast their vote. Australia for instance closes their voter rolls registration 7 days after an election is called rather than the election day itself. Wikipedia also stated that since 2016, many African countries and Latin America uses a technology call biometric for their electoral rolls but the question is, is there management efficiency?

More so, according to ICO.org.uk official website, stated that individual electoral register was first introduced in Scotland, England, and Wales in 2014 which replaced the traditional electoral arrangements by which only one person in each household used to register everyone in the house to vote which has the individual requirement to register.

It also stated that people living in England, Wales and Scotland will also be able to register online for the first time. This means individual now have the sole responsibility to register and vote. According to USA.gov has information on how to register and vote depending on the State voter registration rules. It also states that if one moved or changed name or want to update their political party affiliation, then the person needs to update their voter registration.

Wikipedia also has it that voter registration in the United States is required for voting in the Federal, State, and local elections and the only exception is North Dakota, they do not require registration. That voter registration takes place at both county and states levels and that many states sets from 2 to 4 weeks as a cutoff date for ending registration before election whereas some have Election day or same-day voter registration or update to vote by citizens. In the UK according to Wikipedia, a person can register at any time of the year and the voters only need to have a fixed address. If a voter has no address, they can register by completing a declaration of a local connection form.

Therefore, after you read the latter contrast and above submissions, Will Ghana Ever Have Anything Credible and Unanimously Accepted by All Parties in Ghana?

To conclude, Educated Ghanaians and Educated government, MPs and Ministers must take the poor who are uneducated in the English language very serious because the difference is that they cannot speak or write English and therefore they cannot debate seriously on national issues because of English Language. We are all strangers in our mother land, Ghana.

Since we have very high number of people who cannot read and write but are potential voters then I suggest that EC must have two registers for elections, that is, one for the English educated ones and the other for the Local people after all, when put the two together then the highest percentage is the winner of the election. The constitution must be changed, it does not portray who we are and so we will always have difficulties and problems with it because we are made to believe it is democracy but it is something else.

And again, to have management efficiency with voter registration issues then the law or policy that states equal right to vote does not imply equal vote means equal decision making. This is because an educated voter decision to vote is not the same as the local people who cannot read or write. Hence, if voting means decision making for the county then we are using wrong systems and policies and that is why we have many problems. It must be changed as I have submitted.

Thank you.

AK Adam

akadam_gh@yahoo.co.uk

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