Story: News Desk
The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Kathleen Addy, has expressed concern about the vote buying activity that allegedly took place at the recent presidential primaries of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
According to her, vote buying can cloud the judgment of citizens and influence their choice of candidates which is unhealthy for Ghana’s democracy.
Speaking to journalists, she said “this new trend of money in our politics in the way in which we are seeing, cannot be healthy for our democracy. In the past, it used to be rumors, you know. You hear people whispering here and there but to think that 30 years into the fourth republic we have actually retrogressed to the point where we see open distribution, for whatever reason, it cannot be healthy for our democracy.”
She explained that although politicians may see voting buying as the best approach to capturing political power, it is an expensive and difficult way of retaining power and “may have the potential of diverting attention from important things because you are so busy looking for the money to be able to undertake this exercise [vote buying]. “So to be honest, from the citizen’s point of view and the point of view of democracy- it is actually really troubling. Even from the politician’s point of view, I don’t see how this will suit their purpose.”
Responding to the claim that voting buying was remotely connected to bad governance, she said although it had the potential to influence governance it was not directly related.
Again, she said this only makes politicians indebted to political entrepreneurs which might force them to engage in corrupt activities and repay their debt.
She added that if citizens continued to measure the competence of politicians on their ability to give out money, that would be the trend we would constantly see.
The chairperson stressed that to end this cycle, “it is important that citizens find it unpalatable and politicians must see that it is not worth their while.”
On November 4, delegates who spoke to the media said they received an amount of GH₵400 from the camp of the Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and another GH₵300 from the Assin Central MP Kennedy Agyapong during the electoral process.
Politicians have mostly explained that these amounts are meant to pay for transportation for the delegates.
Also, a former Chairman of the NPP, Peter Mac Manu, expressed worry about the dangers vote buying poses to the country’s democracy.