District Assembly Elections and partisan politics

By Anthony Amoah-amoatec27@yahoo.com

Mr. Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, NPP General Secretary (left), Dr. Kwabena Adjei, NDC General Secretary (right)

It’s been said that whenever two elephants are fighting it is rather the grass that suffers; so it is in the case of say, NDC and NPP in a serious political fight and how it can affect the stability and survival of a society when it comes to district assembly elections.

It is very worrying and regrettable to see some politicians defying all constitutional and electioneering regulations governing the district assembly elections and trying to use partisan means to influence the noble and supposedly non-partisan decentralization exercise.

As we gird our loins to the polls to elect our own assembly and unit committee members come December 28 this year, there has been a series of alleged illegal consultations among the different political parties, principally the NDC and NPP to have their candidates fielded and supported for victory.

The result of such an action by politicians is usually an election to the assembly a personality that is not necessarily learned, competent and dedicated since s/he has a huge support base for the party on which he/she contested.

Any one who tries to exhibit some sort of political neutrality, most often than not, does not carry the day as the electorate see such a person as an independent parliamentary candidate who will have to struggle hard for his/her voice to be heard and considered.
A recent visit to my ‘holy’ village revealed to me that most candidates are not fully prepared to serve their communities for the next four years as assembly members but are struggling to be voted due to their political persuasions.

What baffles me slightly is an attempt by certain government politicians to impress upon some chiefs and opinion leaders to prune down a large number of candidates in certain electoral areas to a sizeable number.

If the attempt is to enable the chiefs and elders pick learned, competent and experienced persons for consideration by the electorate through the ballot, so be it; but if it is done for parochial partisan reasons, why can’t we rise against it now?

It is against this background that a suggestion I made, under the caption “Help strengthen the local government system” in the May 18, 2010 edition of The Chronicle, that if the process of decentralization should survive and meet its stated objectives then, among other things, individuals to be fielded for various positions should be well investigated for criminality and competence both by the people themselves and sometimes even the electoral commission needs to be strictly considered.

My humble suggestion to the electoral commission, the National Commission for Civic Education and all other relevant bodies is that they should guide, educate and aid us in general in order to have free, fair, transparent and well organized polls.

To the candidates, bear in mind that once from same community and with same language and culture, you are all one and an attempt to use these assembly elections to bring divisions will not be in the best interest of our communities.

Sell out your ideas and good intentions to the good people and leave them to take their decisions which will automatically be revealed at the end of the day.

No amount of verbal exchanges, vilifications and character assignations of fellow contestants will do us any good.

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