Ghana Leadership Union is calling on the Electoral Commission to implement Ghana’s electoral laws as an internal monitoring mechanism to sanitize our electoral system. The implementation of this Act and ensuring compliance by enforcers of the law would save our infant Democracy from falling into the trenches.
Elections have become important mechanism in Democracies to choose leaders to occupy Political offices. However, all our Elections have been fraught with certain irregularities. Vote buying has been a major characteristic in all our elections since Ghana became a republic State. Both the two major Political Parties in Ghana are culpable in this crime and GLU Contends that appropriate stake holders should revive the discourse on the need to end this growing phenomenon once and for all. GLU reckons that in the interest of the state, the Electoral Commission should begin to consider the implementation of our existing electoral laws.
SECTIONS 33 AND 34 OF THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLES LAW 1992, (PNDC LAW 284)
The 1992 constitution of Ghana under the above section criminalizes vote buying. The provision in section 33 manifestly spells out the various offenses as :
(1) A person commits the offence of bribery—
(a) if he directly or acting through another person—
(i) gives money or obtains an office for a voter in order to induce the voter to vote or refrain from voting; or
(ii) corruptly does such an act on account of a voter having voted or refrained from voting; or
(iii) makes a gift or provides something of value to a voter to induce the voter to vote in a certain way or to obtain the election of a candidate; or
(b) if he advances or pays money or causes money to be paid to or for the use of a person with the intent that the money or part of it shall be expended in bribery at an election, or knowingly pays money or causes money to be paid to a person in discharge or repayment of money wholly or in part expended in bribery at an election; or
(c) if before or during an election he directly or indirectly, by himself or through another person acting on his behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for money, gift, a loan or valuable consideration or an office, place or employment for himself or for another person for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting; or
(d) if after an election he directly or through another person receives money or valuable consideration on account of a person having voted or refrained from voting or having induced another person to vote or to refrain from voting.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1)—
(a) references to giving money include giving, lending, agreeing to give or lend, offering, promising and promising to procure or to endeavour to procure money or valuable consideration; and
(b) references to procuring office include giving, procuring, agreeing to give or procure, offering, promising and promising to procure or to endeavour to procure an office, place or employment.
A person commits the offence of treating—
(a) if he corruptly either himself or through another person, before, during or after an election gives or provides or pays wholly or in part the expenses of giving or providing meat, drink, entertainment or provision to or for any person—
(i) for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or another person to vote or refrain from voting; or
(ii) on account of that person or another person having voted or refrained from voting or being about to vote or refrain from voting; or
(b) if he corruptly accepts or takes any meat, drink, entertainment or provision offered in the circumstances and for the purposes mentioned in paragraph (a) of this section.
We are hereby with this communiqué imploring
- The Attorney General to consider mounting the necessary legal infrastructure needed to deal with such acts.
- Electoral Commission should audit accounts of political parties in Ghana as being prescribed by the political parties Act 574 as a regulatory mechanism to check how political parties raise money and expend their resources.
- Finally Parliament should consider the enactment of a legislative instrument that would stretch the frontiers of existing laws to both internal party election and National elections and also ascribe hasher punitive sanctions to the laws instead of limiting it to a misdemeanor.
We risk selling our Franchise to the highest bidder. This defeats our national agenda of making real political choices that will secure the right political choices and leadership occasioned by merits but not one with the highest bidder.
As previously stated, we at GLU are concerned that this pervasive tendency in our body politics occurs in broad day light and usually at its height during election, yet, practically nothing is done to cure the mischief.
We herein with this communiqué implore appropriate stake holders, including Parliament to take up the matter towards the expected end.
By: Abraham Awuriki Yeboah- General Secretary, Ghana Leadership Union. (GLU).