A former commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Justice Emile Short, has urged the Ghanaian electorate to be vigilant in the December general election to ensure that only certified results were announced after the polls.
According to him, the electorate must not only vote and go home to sleep, but keep an eye on the process from the beginning to the end at an acceptable distance of 500 metres from the polling station.
‘‘You cannot be there for the whole day but I suggest that you form groups to monitor the progress of the election and also ensure that nothing irregular happens at the polling stations,’’ he said.
Justice Short, however, cautioned that in exercising such responsibilities, party agents must not engage in acts of lawlessness since perpetrators would be made to face the law.
The former commissioner was speaking at a forum organised by a pressure group, Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVC), on the theme: ‘‘Ensuring credible elections; the role of the electorate.’’
Justice Short further urged the electorate not to allow the actions of individuals or groups to disrupt the elections, saying, ‘’we don’t want this year’s elections to be disrupted by the actions of macho men of the various parties. If there are groups of people engaging in violence, report them for action to be taken.’’
He advised individuals to learn more about the electoral processes to enable them to contribute effectively in choosing a good government that would promote the welfare of the country.
‘’The thumb is very important and you must use it. If you don’t vote and the people elected are not those you want, you will have yourselves to blame’’, Justice Short cautioned.
The former commissioner also advised aggrieved electorate to always resort to the courts to seek redress in electoral disagreements instead of engaging in violence.
He advised that post-election litigations should be avoided but if there was a need for that, the court should be the appropriate place to seek redress.
A communications consultant, Madam Kathleen Addy, said it was important that people got involved in politics.
‘’As a citizen, you should not sit down unconcerned with the excuse that I don’t like politics. Be part of the voting process,’’ she advised.
A member of the Volta Regional Peace Council, Rev. Monsignor Anthony Kornu, charged the media to avoid giving platforms to irresponsible politicians to spew venom on their opponents which, he said, could jeopardise the peace the country was enjoying.