ELECTORAL MALPRACTICE: A SECURITY THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY
In International Politics, election is a crucial component of choosing legitimate leaders who are entrusted with power and authority to govern. It is also a political cycle that creates an opportunity for people to cast their votes for an incumbent or opposition candidate. The most rudimentary way in which electoral malpractice affects electoral process is through the use of electoral manipulation to achieve victory in a given election.
Though election management in established democracies such as in Ghana tends to enjoy tremendous independence, efforts to control and monitor electoral fraud have greatly proved weaker and less effective. As a result of this deficiency, the vulnerability and abuse of electoral systems are well established at certain flash points in our country.
Electoral malpractice in any given election is underpinned by three main forms namely, manipulation of the rules governing elections, manipulation of vote preference formation and expression, and manipulation of the voting process. Indeed, electoral malpractice poses serious challenge to, and undermines the sustainable development of nation – states.
Violence orchestrated by electoral malpractice is inimical to development, peace, stability, unity and security of the nation. According to Darry (2009), “election is the most democratic means by which people choose their representatives. If it is free and fair, it encourages healthy competition, political participation, accountability, and serves as a means to change government peacefully. It can also be an avenue to test the popularity of a government and check its excessiveness, or a Member of Parliament or political party. Whichever way election takes, it is an avenue for democratic consolidation and good governance as long as it is free and fair”.
In addressing electoral malpractice in our country before, during and after the 2020 general election, it is imperative to consider the ethical theory of Androx Fox (1952). This theory explains the moral philosophy and obligation and ideals towards which an individual is working. He opines “any action in the sphere of politics involves the question of whether the action is right or wrong”. He stresses that, ‘what is morally wrong can never be politically right and that development is conditioned by ethics’. In a sharp contrast, Nicollo Machiavelli and other scholars are of the view that ethics has no place in politics, because they say ‘the end justifies the means.’
The Bureau of Security Advocacy & Consultancy ( BUSACgh ) reminds all politicians and other stakeholders in the 2020 general elections in Ghana to be mindful of our collective effort to consolidate our democracy and NOT to be involved in any electoral malpractice that might create insecurity and political instability in the country. The election must be “fought” on the basis of ‘free and fair’ electoral systems. It is worrying to note that, some politicians and individuals have a negative mind – set that fairness and justice would continue to be a mirage and for that matter, electoral malpractice must continue. Inasmuch as this misconception is gaining roots in our various electoral processes such as the Unit Committee, District Assembly, Parliamentary and Presidential elections, does not mean a compromised deal. Let us dispense our civic responsibility in a serene and constitutional manner that will not jeopardise the electoral gains our country had chalked over the years in the international political system. Ghana is a beckon of democracy in Africa and let us maintain our democratic leadership and political maturity.
DAVID WILSON ASETENA-KRAH, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER BUREAU OF SECURITY ADVOCACY AND CONSULTANCY( BUSACgh)