Peaceful elections— an essential requirement for a stable democracy

By Michelle Fafa Agbenorto


“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” —Thomas Paine, 1777.


Political or public office is not the platform for pilfering and illegal wealth creation. It is about the altruistic service and welfare to the nation and the voting population. It's an oath made to God and man to be upright and diligent in managing the resources and assets of the nation efficiently and effectively for uttermost national benefit.

 Understanding this basic principle is the most essential foundation to put down before embarking on seeking the mandate of the people through peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections.


Winning elections into public office is not a desperate task, nor is it winning power by any means necessary. It is not about smear campaigning, character assassination or inciting one group, tribe and religion against another just to score cheap political points. It is not about using hate speech or indecent language. It is a contest of ideas, battle of winning majority votes of the hearts and minds of the people, the selling of feasible policies and programs for bettering the lives of the electorate.


Free fair and peaceful elections is not hinged on just one person or political party alone working to ensure peace but on a group of individuals and all the stake-holding mass with one goal of working to ensure a peaceful process before, during and after the elections. It will take the collective effort and activity of an evil minority group or individual to mess up the fine process because of the ulterior and selfish motives they have. Post-election conflicts are more prevalent and deadly than pre-election violence which are sometimes curtailed or reduced to the barest minimum.


Polls, as we all know from times of old, should be about credibility, integrity and trust in the candidates, political ideology and the team with the requisite competences to manage the resources and assets efficiently for the benefit of majority of the nation’s people.


In ensuring a peaceful and successful election, the behavior of politicians and party members is crucial. Candidates announcing themselves winners before the official announcement by the Electoral Commission can be a dangerous path to take and a recipe for serious chaos.


Individual(s) and parties seeking political mandate and power should know that elections are not a must win affair. The nation needs to stay intact even after the election process. The environment will be competitive and hot but must remain peaceful, calm and safe, and whether winners or losers in an election, the nation should remain united as one people, one continent with a goal which is peace and harmony. Without the electorate, the elected has no one to govern.


Every competition has laid-down rules and regulations which must be followed to the letter; hence candidates and supporters must accept the outcome as announced by the mandated authorities, rather than make trouble because the results are not in one’s favour.


Opposing groups who have lost must accept the results for the sake of the nation while winning candidates and their supporters must not over jubilate and tease the losing side, as this sometimes degenerates into open confrontation and the end result is always fatal. Everything should be done in moderation and the required peace will be attained. This is where true leadership, maturity and respect for the rule of law comes in.


The security agencies should be firm but fair; they should not be seen to be siding with the ruling party. It is a recipe for chaos. They should mediate fairly and not be attached to the apron strings of the government in power.


Democracy may be expensive both in form and structure but way better than a despotic military dictatorship, hence the need to it and learn to live by it.
Let us remember that there can always be one winner in every election—a bitter and non-negotiable truth.


It is our fervent hope that Ghana will not follow the example of some African countries with electoral experiences of post election violence leading to years of civil war and conflicts following the declaration of electoral results which did not go in the favor of one group.


All and sundry, especially the young Ghanaian, are to play all roles expected of them to ensure a violent-free 2016 general elections for Ghana to continue to be the shining example and

set correct standards which other African countries will emulate and be measured.


The writer is an officer of the Information Services Department.


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