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Vote buying aberration of democracy — NCCE Chairperson

The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Kathleen Addy, has said vote buying by political office seekers is at variance with democratic governance.

“Aspirants giving out amounts of money and other items to secure the votes of the electorate during an election sometimes after a request has been made by the voter is an affront to the democracy we have set out to practise,” she stressed.

Ms Addy was speaking during the fifth national dialogue on preventing and containing violent extremism in Nalerigu in the North-East Region last Wednesday. It was on the theme: “Promoting a culture of tolerance: A catalyst for peaceful elections”.

The event was interspersed with a demonstration of violent extremism by students of the Nalerigu Senior High School, as well as a panel discussion. Ms Addy said if the electorate were going to vote based on who gave the highest amount, then it was possible that they would not end up electing the person who could truly serve them.

She said: “Let us move a step further and go beyond the money, and rather look at policies and programmes, as well as the messages political parties put on the table and select the best option for the nation,” she said.

She explained that large amounts of money being exchanged for votes during elections was not a healthy development for the country’s democratic governance, and should be nipped in the bud in the interest of the nation.

Extreme partisanship
The NCCE Chairperson said extreme partisanship was derailing political collaboration for national development, saying “It is important to look past our political leanings and focus on what can be done together to keep the nation together and develop it for the benefit of all”.

She said someone was going to win the upcoming elections, but that did not mean that the world must come to an end for those who did not support the winner, stressing that after elections efforts must be marshalled by all Ghanaians towards making the nation better for the citizenry.

She said that just as belonging to a political party was a given right, it was improper for a person to be intolerant of the political views of others in opposing parties. She cautioned that violent extremism thrived in areas where there were disagreements and conflicts, adding that “extremists often take advantage of where there are disagreements to deepen the conflict for their parochial interests”.

The NCCE Chairperson, therefore, cautioned the youth not to allow themselves to be used to create tension in the country and added that in spite of the economic difficulties in the country, the public, including the youth, should be part of the solution by helping to safeguard the peace in the nation.

Experience
The North-East Regional Minister, Yidana Zakaria, said the region had experienced the negative consequences of violent extremism as many nationals of neighbouring Burkina Faso were currently seeking refuge in the region.

He disclosed that some violent extremists sneaked into the region to train for their nefarious acts, but thankfully the security agencies managed to gather the needed intelligence to chase them out of their hideout in the area.

While indicating that the region was not insulated from the acts of violent extremism, he charged the people to wake up to their civic responsibilities by reporting people suspected to be a threat to the country’s peace.

On the upcoming elections, he called for peaceful, free, fair and transparent elections that would pave the way for a peaceful transfer of political power to the next government.

 

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