A former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Justice Emile Short, has called on the leadership of the two major political parties, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to take steps to deal with vote-buying in Ghana’s politics.
His comment follows the just ended New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries in orphan constituencies which documented cases of vote-buying including the alleged distribution of vehicles by an aspirant, Mr. Elisha Debrah Odoom in the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam Constituency of the Central Region.
Speaking to the media after the launch of a report on the Right to Information journey in Ghana, Justice Short said vote-buying is distorting the country’s politics and must be addressed immediately.
“We have seen many situations where aspirants dish out bags of rice, bags of flour and all kinds of incentives to voters. It is wrong. I am hoping that the leaders of both political parties will make a statement and let their supporters, the aspirants whether parliamentary or presidential know that it is wrong to indulge in vote buying.”
“It is seriously destroying our politics and we need to take a critical look at this practice of vote buying,” he said.
The problem of vote-buying remains a threat to Ghana’s democracy as it poses serious challenges to free and fair elections and the legitimacy of political office holders.
Each election year and in almost every local and institutional elections the issue of vote buying re-surfaces as it has almost become part of every election in Ghana.
Many stakeholders within the political space as well as leaders of civil society organisations have been calling for the need for a systematic monitoring of the issue of vote-buying during campaign periods for the purposes of naming and shaming political parties that engage in the practice in order to reduce or cure the canker.