Anytime the country is approaching a general election, the fear of Ghana being plunged into war, becomes a recurring topic of discussion. In many instances, opposition parties point at the Electoral Commission as the sole institution that is responsible for the peace of the nation within that period. With another election in the offing, the EC has once again come under some bashing as not doing much to safeguard the peace of the country with a raging controversy over the voters register. But, it is a wrong notion to think that it will take just the EC to maintain peace in Ghana. It is erroneous if not funny to think that Ghana's EC has ever, or is likely to rig the outcome of the election in favour of any party or candidate. It is an open secret that it does not take the Electoral Commission to instigate the snatching of ballot boxes and intimidation of electorates which are all forms of rigging.
When it comes to the maintenance of peace, the constitution assigns that responsibility to the police and to some extent, the other security agencies. These institutions must therefore act more professionally in this electioneering season. The police and the military must ensure that motor riders who intimidate voters are treated as criminals and dealt with accordingly. It is also significant that the police have declared political vigilante groups such as Azorka boys, invincible forces and Bolga Bull dogs illegal organisations. But the police administration is taking too long time in banning them. What we have witnessed over the past several months is more of rhetoric, or empty threats of banning the groups. As the police consider banning social media temporally, they should consider wiping out those criminal elements during the eve of the elections. This is the time for the police to crack the whip by arresting all those who still carry themselves about as members of such groups.
By the way, what was the outcome of investigations into weapons allegedly found at the premises of a certain political party? The police must not hide such information from the public. Citizens deserve to know whether or not it is true that the weapons were found there, the owner or owners and what they were meant for. As the police are expected to act professionally, government should also resource them with all that they need to execute their responsibilities with the level of professionalism expected of them. Equally important institutions whose work is very paramount to ensuring the peace of the nation at this critical moment is the National Commission for Civic Education. This institution must also be adequately resourced to give the citizens the education they need to resist the temptation of gullibly swallowing sentimentally whipping information from political demagogues. We equally expect all political parties to shy away from comments that have the potential of whipping the sentiments of their members.
Just like the political parties, the media must be circumspect with the kind of news they put out there especially on the voting day and before the results are declared. Having said this, the media should still be able to protect the sovereign will of Ghanaians by exposing wrong doing. Above all, every citizen must put Ghana first before any other thing. The best way to do this is to abide by all the laws of the land, top most priority in this matter is to defend the constitution by reporting anything that amount to the undermining constitution. The Electoral Commission must demonstrate high level of fairness and transparency as far as this election is concerned. When everyone plays his or her part, there is no doubt that the country will come out of the election unscathed.
BY ALI BALA, A SOCIAL COMMENTATOR IN SENYA-BERAKU.