The National Association of Public Health Students is calling on all political parties, civil societies, and all citizens to join hands in campaigning for violent free elections.
Irrespective of the political party you belong to, we entreat that, we project our beloved country Ghana ahead of everything.
Human Rights Watch confirmed that during the 2011 electoral violence in Nigeria, more than 800 people died. Similar patterns have been identified in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Gambia, Rwanda, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Burundi, and others, where thousands of people have been killed and property destroyed in the wake of electoral violence.
This pattern is, and there is an urgent need to resolve, a challenge to the survival of democracy and human security on the continent. Over 100 elections in 44 African countries were held between 2011 and 2017. During the election stages, almost all the elections witnessed violence. Sporadic or prolonged violence all marked the pre-election campaign, election days, and post-election periods.
In different cases, the violence occurred due to citizens’ dissatisfaction with the preparation for elections by election management bodies; from nomination and imposition of candidates for electoral positions by political parties; allegations of election manipulation and rigging by electoral bodies; outcomes and results of elections; and the execution of violent tactics by security agents to manage election disputes, among other reasons. Most often, violence results in the absence of, or when grievance mechanisms are compromised.
Several factors have been offered to explain the prevalence of election violence in Africa. These include structural factors, cultural factors, monetization of politics, and the neo-patrimonial nature of politics in Africa.
High rates of youth unemployment and the proclivity of political entrepreneurs to manipulate and lure unemployed youth into thuggery during elections have also been identified as an important factor that can fuel election violence. The structural problems in society that make some African countries susceptible to violence include poor living conditions, high levels of unemployment, poor educational facilities and educational status of citizens, poor health delivery system, poor infrastructure, and pervasive corruption.
We call on our gallant youth across the country, not to be allowed by any political infiltrate to use them for their political gains. COVID-19 has already caused the country great harm. We are faced with a lot of financial setbacks because of the lost businesses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our country’s economy has been traumatized and not in good standing because of the pandemic. Hence, let us not collapse our country with violence but let us unite as a country to revamp all the lost businesses and the economy for a common goal, violence is never an option.
Notwithstanding this, we also call on the electoral commission to be transparent, and fair in all the electoral processes, violence during elections can be fueled by inappropriate or undue processes by the electoral body, where some political parties will seem to be treated unfairly. However, we encourage all political parties never to take the law into their hands if they seem to be unfairly treated by any organ/body, they should seek redress from the appropriate bodies.
We also call on the government to strengthen the security forces to help ensure violent free elections devoid of intimidation, and unnecessary brutalization’s of citizens. It is the responsibility of every government to ensure that, there is no violence in its electoral processes.
In conclusion, election violence is a serious threat to the survival of democracy in Africa and beyond because it has shaken citizens’ confidence in democracy’s ability to provide solutions to the numerous socio-political and economic problems facing the continent. It has also justified military interventions in some countries such as Nigeria in the past.
We, therefore, call on everyone to preach peace before, during, and after this election. We call on all our students who are currently home to distance themselves from all gatherings that can ignite violence and be safe during this period. Ghana is the only country of ours, let's join hands to develop it together, and say no to election violence. COVID-19 is still real, obey all the safety protocols, and stay safe.
Thank you Yours faithfully,
Claudius B. Angsongna National President 0542428493
Published Lolasom Rocklin Banewel National Deputy PRO 0547107886
Cc The General Public All Media Houses