Rev. Degbe: 2012 elections will be more credible, peaceful

Mon, 3 Dec 2012 Source: Joy Online

The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Fred Deegbe believes that while the electoral process is still beset by problems, there is great chance the upcoming polls will be more credible and peaceful than previous ones.

Rev. Degbe said he has particular confidence in the conduct of the elections because the police and other security personnel have been well equipped with communications technology to call for backup when necessary.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday, he explained that this year’s election seems to be less characterized by vitriolic language and rabble rousing since politicians are being “named and shamed” for stirring up trouble.

However, the Rev. Minister was not completely confident that the mere talk of peace by the various political leaders will necessarily translate into peace on the ground come December 7th.

He was unhappy the code of ethics governing this election, for example, is not really being enforced. Candidates who violate it risk damaging their public images but will not face prosecution, he said.

He added that because the stakes are high in this election, coupled with the fact that the national budget is now being supplemented by oil money, politicians are desperate to enter or remain in office. As a result, many of them engineer mistrust for their opponents.

Rev. Deegbe said that while some of the mistrust may be genuine, much of it is just a mechanism to mobilize followers against the other party. For example, he said many voters were enraged over the controversy surrounding the creation of 45 new constituencies earlier this year but few remember the specific arguments few months after.

He said parties exercise too little control over their grassroots members, explaining that party supporters sometimes act independently in committing electoral fraud and may not necessarily be following the orders of the party hierarchy.

He therefore advised politicians to strengthen the chain of command within the parties to rein in such rogue elements. He also reminded them not to pursue power at all costs.

The man of God asked the media resist the urge to break the news but to thoroughly crosscheck all information before running them. It is tempting to be the first to break a story, he conceded, but it’s important to consider the effect that a misreported story can have on the people of Ghana, who will continue living together even after the election is over.

Rev. Degbe also instructed the citizens to be vigilant on Election Day so that they minimize the impact of the activities of fraudsters on the outcome of the elections.

Source: Joy Online