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Only Ghanaians can ensure fair, safe elections- David Kangah
From: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Adam Reese          Published On: August 29, 2012, 13:46 GMT
 
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Only Ghanaians can ensure fair, safe elections- David Kangah

David Adenze Kanga

Former Deputy Chairman for the Electoral Commission (EC), David Kangah has affirmed his confidence in the ability of the EC to oversee fair elections.

However, he placed the onus of ensuring electoral fairness and peace on the Ghanaian people.

Speaking on Joy FM's Super Morning Show on Wednesday, Mr. Kanga encouraged Ghanaians to work diligently to prevent voter fraud.

The Peopleís Role

Though Mr. Kangah acknowledged that some actors will inevitably try to cheat, he expressed faith in the peopleís power to combat fraud.

He cited one incident from a previous election in which some people tried to steal a ballot box but were chased away by voters. He commented that the security forces alone would not have been able to prevent fraud; the involvement of passionate citizens is always essential.

He explained that relying on the people is the nationís best option because the EC lacks the resources to employ 115,000 election workers and must pad its staff with volunteers.

Similarly, the immediate past Deputy Chairman of the EC said, even if the electoral security forces were under the supervision of the EC, the EC would not have the resources to enforce its authority among them. Therefore, while managing elections is a civil exercise and communal activity, security is best left to the government, he emphasised.

To shift fraud prevention responsibilities further away from the EC, Mr. Kangah explained that the organization cannot simply toss out a set of ballots over allegations of fraud or intimidation.

If such a policy were adopted, EC members loyal to one party could respond to fraud allegations selectively and target areas known to support the other party.

Given that the commission cannot annul results until sufficient evidence justifies such a move, the burden to produce this evidence falls once again on the people, Mr. Kanga said.

Along these lines, Kangah advised that it is easier to stop fraud before it occurs than to address it retroactively, so people should be vigilant on election day.


Faith in the EC
Only Ghanaians can ensure fair, safe elections- David Kangah
Mr Kangah was confident the people will accept the EC as trustworthy because the strictness of the rules regulating it, prevents commissioners from acting according to their own wills.

He also pointed out that many of the ECís most crucial provisions are protected against whimsical parliamentary review.

He brushed off suspicions about the ECís ability or desire to ensure fairness, attributing this mistrust to the high stakes of the election and adding that, the average Ghanaian has faith in the ECís ability to preside over a fair election.

He also praised the new biometric registration system, which he said should expedite voter identification and reduce voter fraud controversy.

Peace

On the theme of peace during elections, Kangah repeated the mantra that responsibility lies with the people, noting that while many Ghanaians speak of a desire for peaceful elections, everyone must take this message to heart.

In his view, the only real solution to the violence problem is to instill in the young generation a new level of faith in the electoral system.

If children believe that the ballot box is the appropriate venue to address disagreements over the direction of the country, violence will eventually cease to have a role in elections. Peace cannot be achieved in one day, Kangah said, "because it is a way of life."

The New Constituencies

Addressing the controversy surrounding the creation of 45 new constituencies, he recommended that the seats in those constituencies be allocated to parties based on the proportion of the nationwide popular vote that each party wins.

This format, he said, would prevent voters from picking a candidate on the grounds that that candidateís party created the votersí constituency.


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