Drucilla Lartey, Officer-in-Charge of the Ablekuma South Sub-Metro Office of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has called on political party representatives to educate their members on electoral offences.
“A person found guilty of an election offence may be fined up to 500 penalty units or imprisoned for at most two years or both. For some of the offences, a person may also be disqualified from voting in subsequent elections or from holding any public office,” Ms Lartey said at an inaugural ceremony of an Inter-Party Dialogue Committee (IPDC) for the Ablekuma South Constituency in Accra.
The IPDC has the mandate to serve as a unifying body to promote peace and resolve conflicts before, during and after the 2020 general elections to enhance political, economic and social progress and stability.
She said: ‘‘A key indicator of democracy and good governance in the developed world is credibility and peace, however, elections in most developing countries especially Africa have not been the best since they bring untold hardship.
She said although violence had been part of Ghanaian politics, the country had an impressive record of successfully managing its elections.
Ms Lartey said the country had avoided such electoral violence experienced in other countries and had enjoyed uninterrupted stable democratic rule.
Ghana has been internationally acclaimed as one of the beacons of democratic governance, not only in West Africa but also on the African continent, she said.
The Officer-in-Charge said as a result of Ghana’s record, there was the need to deepen and consolidate these democratic tenets.
‘‘The IPDC will act as a buffer zone in the constituencies to stem the tide of unnecessary suspicions and anxiety among political parties, especially now that activities of political party vigilantes have gained some grounds and likely to mar Ghana’s enviable record of holding peaceful elections,’’ she said.
The IPDC, she said, would monitor the enforcement of the electoral rules and regulations, promote peace, identify issues that had the potential to trigger electoral conflict, and also promote information sharing to avoid rumour-mongering.
Also, the Committee would work with the National Peace Council and all key stakeholders in the peace-building process and help monitor, and report cases of breach of rules and regulations relating to the conduct of the elections and the maintenance of public order.
Key violations to be monitor included the distribution of money and gifts to electorates, declaration of election results by political parties and their members, the rigging of elections, use of provocative and abusive language by political parties and abuse of incumbency.
The IPDC consists of representatives of all registered political parties, security services, Christian and Muslim leaders, Traditional leaders, NCCE, media, District Assembly, Independent Governance Institutions and Civil Society Organisations.
The Reverend Mrs Rebecca F. A. Abladey, the Chairperson of the IPDC, advised the Committee members to be advocates of peace and urged them to build the bridge of co-existence.
‘‘We are families though we belong to various political parties, we should be united so that after the elections we can maintain our relationships.
“Let us leave a good legacy of raising the youth of our time without violence,’’ she added.