May we not have protests of regrets

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One issue that we have not tackled very well in this country is voter-apathy. At every election, after the numbers are collated, the figures show that not many of us have voted. Some people cannot be bothered because they do not understand that it is their civic responsibility. What has compounded the situation is that education on the issue has not been taken seriously.

It is voter apathy that has brought despair to some candidates who wake up to the disappointment that they have not received the right numbers to be elected even though they travelled to every corner of the country and met with very large crowds.

It has happened in this country before. The late Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, who was then the presidential candidate of the National Liberal of Alliance (NAL), was convinced with the crowd that he got in Kumasi and felt sure that he was getting the numbers in votes on election day. It did not happen. He was not the only person who was disappointed, some of his party supporters did not understand.

Because of this, l have been wary of political crowds. Some people attend rallies and on election day, refuse to play their civic roles. This is the main cause of voter apathy and it is something that the various political parties must be concerned about.

As l watch the pictures of crowds attending the rallies of the various political parties around the country, l wonder if these are not people who are out there just to listen to the various speakers on the platforms and would not do the bidding of the speakers by coming to vote on December 7. That is the essence of the rallies; ‘come listen to me and on the day of election, having been convinced of what l have said, you would come out in your numbers and vote!’

The last election in the U.S. brought out voter apathy vividly, especially among the Black community. Most of the people who did not go out to vote on election day, attended rallies to listen to Mrs. Clinton. What they failed to do was to vote as a proof that they listened to her. This is the reason why some of them took to the streets to demonstrate against the election of Donald Trump as President. If only they had come out in their numbers on election day, the story would have been different and they would not need to protest because their thumbs would have spoken.

For this reason, our politicians must use these last few days to preach against voter apathy as they sell their qualities. It would be a sad thing if the voters are not encouraged to come out to vote in their numbers. Our election results have also proved that voting as a civic responsibility is not well understood by many.

If they do not do what is expected of them and allow the voter apathy to continue, we may have the same protests in our streets. This is the reason why the education that election is about numbers must be stressed. There are those who would only be looking at the numbers at the rallies now and use that as a basis to argue about cheating at the polls. What they would not take into account is the number of people who actually cast their votes on the day of election.

The politicians must know that it is also their responsibility as stakeholders to educate the public to come out and vote. Unfortunately, they seem to be only interested in selling themselves and their manifestos. They do not hammer very much on why the people must come out to vote. The National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) can do its bit but the parties must know that they have the bigger responsibility of making their supporters know that after they have come out in their numbers to show support, they have to follow that by coming out to vote.

So, on December 9 or 10 when the election results are announced, l do not want to see any disappointed supporter come out in protest because that will not help. The best way to express their sentiments is to come out to cast their votes on December 7. If you do not come out on that day, please remain at home and lick your wounds because your protests would not count after the election results have been declared. In other words, these people must forever remain silent until 2020 when Ghana goes to the polls again.

Against this background, l would want to remind the Christians among us that even the Good Book, the Holy Bible, says in James 4:17 that; “so whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” Voting is a civic responsibility and it would be unwise for anyone to say “l do not care” and remain at home. If you do not care to vote, then do not care about who becomes the country’s ruler.

For our Muslim brothers and sisters, Quran 61:3 states that; “It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say things which you do not do.” Therefore all those who are professing their support to the various political parties must know that it is sinful if they do not follow that up with their votes.

My special prayer is that; May every Ghanaian of voting age know that on December 7, is a day that we set aside to elect our leaders, for this reason, it is expected of them to come out in their numbers to vote.

May this understanding not be lost on any of the voters; May we cast our votes, because refusing to do so, we would not be able to elect those we really want; May laziness not keep us away from the polling stations; May we know that it is the numbers that make the candidates of our choice win the elections; May we also remember that if we do not cast our votes, we are doing our country a big disservice; And may we have the understanding that protesting after an election is not what the wise people do.

So, let us come out to vote and be counted so that at the end of the day, we would be proud to say, we voted for those we really wanted whether our candidate of choice wins or not.

  1. Some people attend rallies and on election day, refuse to play their civic roles. This is the main cause of voter apathy and it is something that the various political parties must be concerned about.

  2. May we cast our votes, because refusing to do so, we would not be able to elect those we really want; May laziness not keep us away from the polling stations.

 

Source: Ghana/todaygh.com/Perspective with Francis Kokutse

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