Opinions Mon, 23 Nov 2015

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Black-belts & bloated registers

The mayhem which eclipsed the National Democratic Congress (NDC) primaries across the country last Saturday is an apt prognosis for the 2016 polls.

Coming at the heels of the bill of good conduct by President Mahama for his party, his assessment is anything but a true reflection of the NDC. There was so much confusion that the polls had to be halted in some constituencies. For good reasons of course! To be fair to him, he recalled the violent genesis of the party: the reason it can fight back when cornered and even kill. That is a feature of black-belted persons, he said during his two ill-fated soap-box performances recently.

We are hard-pressed not to ask whether the President wasn’t just joking when he put his party on that pedestal of civility.

Elections are not about life and death. They are about choices based on the presence of the factors that ensure free, fair and credible polls, including of course a credible voter register which cannot be compromised through corrupt Electoral Commission (EC) officials.

If we were awaiting a mock exercise ahead of the 2016 polls, we had one last Saturday; one which afforded us a rare opportunity to examine whether or not the EC has bettered its rather poor management of elections.

If members of a ruling party can do what they did to one another on Saturday, at the national level when the stakes are higher, the extent to which they can go to achieve their goals can only be conjectured.

Everything must be thrown into the ring to ensure that the 2016 polls are not compromised lest the country is imperilled.

Nobody can gainsay the extent to which bad politicians can go to have their way, the negative options including the engagement of bad EC elements to remove the names of their opponents from the voter register. Although the register under review is NDC’s, sleep best describes what death is.

Last Saturday’s poor performance is a wake-up call for the political parties to demand a clean register from the EC and for the latter to appreciate the importance of peaceful elections and their opposite.

Most of the losers in the NDC polls are not bad losers but persons aggrieved about the glaring cases of voters having their names removed from the register.

Those behind such deletions are people who have mastered the art of dirty election manoeuvring, having done it at the national level for a while now.

The story abounds about persons who saw their names on the party register when same was displayed for inspection only to have their details expunged last Saturday when they turned up to exercise their franchise. For such persons it was their first time of coming face-to-face with electoral fraud. Not so for others in the opposing parties.

The EC would be irresponsible if the shortcomings which characterised the NDC polls do not encourage it to re-engineer the management of elections, especially in the 2016 polls.

The challenges the NDC encountered during the Saturday polls were about a flawed voter register compromised to favour some anointed ones.

Columnist: Daily Guide

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