NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE SPECIAL VOTING
It is heartwarming the Special Voting ended smoothly throughout the country yesterday with no reported nasty incident. It is also gratifying that voter turnout was high at almost all the centers. The Special voting gave the opportunity for those who have been assigned special duties on election day like the police, military, journalists and essential service providers to cast their ballot to enable them to get ample time for their assigned roles.
Even though the exercise chalked up remarkable success it was dented by a number of missing names from the special voters’ list which has unfortunately disenfranchised such people as they cannot vote again on December 7 because majority of them might be stationed outside their home region. Equally a minus in the Special Voting exercise was people illegally taking pictures of the candidates they voted for. Such photographs are believed to be demanded from the electorate in return for either cash or any other gifts.
This is a way of influencing votes and tampering with the franchise of the voter. It is hoped the electoral Commission has taken note of omissions and commissions in the early voting to enable them to correct anomalies so detected. Nevertheless, the commission deserves tons of commendations for ensuring its Biometric Voters Device(BVD) were in shape for voting to proceed smoothly. Equally a plus for the EC was the fact that it ensured the observance of all the Covid 19 protocols to enhance the health of voters. With the Special Voting now complete the stage is now set for the main voting on December 7. The Electoral Commission must ensure it crosses its Tees and dots its I’s to ensure incident-free voting. The situation where malfunctioning BVD’s are sent out to opposition strongholds to slow down the voting process must be a thing of the past. We need to water down the tension that characterized the voters registration and alleged intimidation of voters in areas like the Volta and Northern Regions. As umpires in the elections, the Electoral Commission owes it a responsibility to be fair to all parties and justice must not only be done but seen to be down.
This is because next week’s elections are very crucial to the nation’s peace and stability. Developments in neighboring countries in their recent elections are not good commentaries and must not be re-enacted in our beloved country Ghana. Ghana has progressed steadily since it decided to chart the path of democracy in 1992 and has often been touted as the citadel of competence as far as election is concern. It is good efforts are being made to get the candidates and their parties to commit to peace by accepting the results of the elections.
In every endeavor, there is a margin of error that is acceptable. That is why independent observers rate some elections as free and far despite some infractions. It is unfortunate some people through no fault of theirs have been disenfranchised. One wonders what compensation would be offered to them. Voting in an election is an unfettered right that no one is allowed to take away.
As the nation inches towards election 2020 let’s all play it fair and ensure the results are credible. Politicians also ought to be circumspect in their utterances to avoid plunging the country into a state of anarchy and chaos. Ghana is the only place we can call our own and no other. A word to the wise is enough.
BY JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST