Save the Integrity of Ghana’s Democracy by curtailing Electoral Violence and Malpractices ahead of 2024 General Elections

- CCSAPV to IGP and President Akufo-Addo

 

Electoral insurrection and perceived malpractices have a negative effect on participation in future  elections and democratic consolidation.

As a result, the leadership of the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations Against Political Vigilantism wishe to draw the attention of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the President of the Republic to security infractions that characterized, the polling station and Constituency elections of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

We wish to draw your attention to the electoral manipulations, violence and mayhem that occurred in some constituencies and also in the March, 2022 polling station  elections of the New Patriotic Party.

Citinewsroom.com reported on 24th April that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) officers in the Yendi constituency have called on the party’s national election committee to suspend the planned elections in the constituency between Thursday, April 28, and Monday, May 2, 2022. This was premised on accusations by NPP executives on electoral album manipulations. Addressing the press on Sunday, April 24, 2022, the Yendi constituency chairman Saddick Nam, said, “We are appealing to the party leadership to suspend the elections or change the electoral album. If nothing is done about the situation before the election day, we will take matters into our hands.”

According to a Ghana Web Publication sourced from Kasapafmonline.com, the New Abirem Constituency Youth Organizer of the NPP sustained cutlass wounds in violence that broke out during the polling station elections. Frank was allegedly attacked by a protégé of the incumbent MP. Some aggrieved members of the NPP accused the member of Parliament, Okyere Baafi Alexander of using armed military, national security operatives and police to intimidate and manipulate the polling station election.

In Koforidua, it was alleged according to the same article from Ghana Web that the election at the Koforidua Technical University Polling Station was manipulated. The report said that the elections which were supposed to come off at 8:00AM were delayed after some candidates contesting the elections resisted attempts to force strange voters bused in two sprinter vehicles to vote. One of the candidates vying for polling station chairman said that the voters came in with heavy security and a convoy of 15 vehicles to vote at about 7:30PM after almost everyone had retired to their homes and doing so in a dark place instead of  the open place designated as polling station.

According to another Ghana Web publication of Friday 11th March 2022 also sourced from otecfmghana.com, about 60 members of the NPP from the Kwadaso Constituency picketed at their party’s headquarters in Accra to petition their national leaders over issues they had with the recent polling station executive elections. They petitioned the leadership of the party to annul the results of the elections over the misconduct of the Chairperson for the Constituency’s polling station executives elections. They said that they went to their party office at 4am to meet military men numbering about 20.

From another article on myjoyonline.com of 14th March 2022, it was stated that conflicts and violence characterized the polling station elections in the Yendi Constituency after some very angry youth vandalised the party’s office on Sunday March 13, 2022. The youth alleged that the MP for their area was trying to stuff the election register in order to get his favourite persons elected. The party supporters destroyed sign boards being used for the exercise, because they have unapproved names and individuals captured in it.

In a related development, the youth wing in the Tano North Constituency of the Ahafo Region  of the NPP have avowed to  resist any attempts by their MP to reverse the results of the Constituency Executives elections held. In their words “We are not preaching or prophesying doom or calamity to befall the party in Tano North, but if the national body follows the lies being spread around by our MP, then NEC would have themselves to blame in the aftermath of what happens in the constituency”.

On 20th April 2022, Myjoyonline reported that angry youth of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the Hemang Lower Denkyira Constituency of the Central Region have sent a strong signal to the Electoral Arbitration Committee of their party not to go ahead with elections in the constituency. They promised they will not allow the constituency elections to proceed if polling station elections are not held in all 81 polling stations in the constituency.

The party had published its timetable for the constituency elections across the country, but the aggrieved NPP youth premised their claim  on the fact that claims that the polling station elections had already been conducted is false. Okaikoi South and Dome Kwabenya constituencies were not exempted from the electoral manipulations which caused the agitation of some executives and delegates with regards to fake electoral register leading to the arrest of four persons in Okaikoi South according to 3news.com on the 28th of April, 2022. In same Okaikoi South constituency election, two persons were arrested for posing as police officers.

Myjoyonline.com broke news on 27th April 2022 that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has identified four constituencies as hotspots ahead of its constituency elections of Friday, April 28 according to their Greater Accra Regional Chairman, Mr Divine Agorhom. The flashpoint constituencies were named as Dome Kwabenya, Odododiodioo and two others per his assertion.

In all the aforementioned examples of violence in the ongoing constituency and polling station elections, one old theme seems to be recurring – the interference of party leadership, the police, military and national security apparatus doing the bid of politicians in the elections. These unfortunate incidents are slowly becoming the norm in Polling Station/Branch, Constituency, Regional and National levels of political party elections. It seems like in the words of Nas the rapper , “we are just growing tall, not growing wiser”.

We can posit that even as the ink used to write the gory stories of bloodshed, mayhem and death that characterized the Ayawaso West Waguon elections, and the 2020 general elections especially the Tano South Constituency inter alia, has barely dried, election related bloodshed and mayhem have started and just lurking around the corner awaiting explosion in the 2024 general elections.

The police, army and national security have been implicated in too many cases of fomenting trouble and mayhem in elections through the abuse of office, use of unnecessary force and show of bravado and excessive display of power. This is a rudimental or basic contradiction to their function and modus operandi as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The police, national security and military who are supposed to maintain law and order, protect lives and property continue to cause mayhem and bloodshed during political party elections. They have flouted the rules and gone unpunished for far too long.

The IGP, Chief of Defense Staff and the Ministry of the Interior must conduct a truthful investigation and quickly crack the whip on the police, military and National Security officials who have marred peaceful election processes with bloodshed, violence, vandalism and mayhem instead of doing the very opposite.

Politicians on whose behalves these atrocities have been committed must equally be brought to book because NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW. The ruling New Patriotic Party must hasten to take the grievances of the feuding and aggrieved supporters with regards to their recent past polling station/ongoing constituency elections and subject those grievances to unbiased, impartial and objective investigations to bring the offenders to book even if they are top brass in the party, as has been alleged in almost all the places that mayhem occurred.

Finally, the Coalition of CSOs Against Political Vigilantism asserts that if the excesses in the aforementioned elections are not curtailed, there could be scores of protests, pandemonium and violence across the length and breadth of the nation as a dress rehearsal towards the national general elections in 2024. We believe that the National General elections are keener and fiercer than the intra-party elections owing to the multiparty nature of its contestants.

A disruption in the former would put our already fragile and lethargic security status into complete disarray.

We could have a full-blown conflict on our hands if nothing is done about the quagmire that we have gradually built for ourselves.

In the wake of the recent coups in Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso, the West African sub-region is not even in the right frame of mind to play “genial host to Ghanaians if the security situation gets haywire .

The CCSAPV has always posited that, “IT IS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN TO BE SORRY”.

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. THE PEACE AND SECURITY OF GHANA COULD HAVE AN EXPIRY DATE IF WE DO NOT DEFEND IT NOW. A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE!!!.

Signed,
Eben Kwaku Fenuku
Chairman, CCSAP
0247699994

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