The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) was established by the Act of Parliament, Act 452, in 1993 to create and sustain within the awareness of the principles and objectives of the constitution, and to educate and encourage the public to defend the constitution at all times, against all forms of abuse and violation among others.
The Commission is known to embark on programmes, including the Citizenship Week Celebration in first and second cycle institutions and the Constitution Celebration Week, with the security agencies to educate them on their rights and responsibilities under the Constitution.
Next year happens to be an election year, and The Chronicle has a pleasant duty to remind the NCCE of one canker of vote-buying and the danger it poses to our body politics, and prevail upon it (NCCE) to take steps to address the problems associated with it.
Vote-buying is a practice in which a candidate induces voters to vote in his or her favour during voting on an issue.
In politics, this is very rampant. The inducement involves the offer of money and other items such as sewing machines, fridges, provisions, television sets, salt, etc.
The inducement sometimes depends on the dire needs of the inhabitants of the area. For instance, in the rural areas, voters are enticed with items such as salt, soap, chamber pots, kerosene, mats, machetes, boxes of matches, etc.
In an area with poor road networks, which is the main concern of the dwellers, the aspiring candidate for the area solemnly promises that should he or she be elected, he/she will asphalt all their roads. If the aspirant is a presidential candidate, he sees to it that a road contractor is immediately hired to start work. He will also see to the immediate construction of some needed amenities such as public places of convenience, provision of potable water, machines etc.
To give prominence to his efforts, he will see to the commissioning of these projects to be finished early. At such ceremonies, many people, including chiefs, assembly members and other prominent citizens from the area, attend.
The aspiring candidate then takes the chance to entice the gathering with numerous mouth-watering promises to, further, induce the people to vote for him to be able to implement all his promises to them.
Such vote-buying is very dangerous to the successful election of deserving candidates. Due to the inducement, square pegs find themselves in round holes. Such unfortunate situations have been responsible for the country’s stagnation in progress, since such incompetent heads of state usually mess up the economy, leading to excruciating hardships.
The unfortunate thing is that, in order for such an incompetent head of state to keep his underserved position, he is forced to surround himself with sycophants who continue to sing his praises, while they, themselves, compete in amassing illegal wealth.
From the aforementioned instances, the way forward is for the National Commission for Civic Education embark on a sustained public campaign to educate Ghanaians to be aware of the fact that, selling their conscience to greedy politicians means the retrogression of the country, since they think only of themselves, their families, friends and concubines, while they leave the rest to tighten their belts for daily lean morsels.
Another effective antidote against this unpatriotic practice of vote-buying is that voters who find themselves within the net of inducement should accept the goodies, but let their conscience be their guide and allow their conscience to work in their favour when they are in the voting booth alone.
With the presence of the NCCE in almost all the districts in the regions, including even some newly created ones, it has a herculean role to play and act to forestall this practice as we progress in our political march.
The 2020 elections is not far from today, hence, The Chronicle is appealing to the government to make the quantum of grants and allocation of resources to all the constitutionally-mandated bodies, including the NCCE, equally, so that they will be able to discharge their core mandates effectively.
While we are calling for the provision of cross country vehicles and office equipment to enable the Commission reach out more to the people. We also suggest the recruitment of new staff to augment the work of the Commission.
The Chronicle cannot wait to appreciate an informed electorate that has duly benefited from NCCE education regarding general elections.