The Electoral Commission (EC) has adopted 27 electoral reforms to make the Elections 2016, more transparent and credible Mrs Charlotte Osei, the EC Chairperson has stated.
“For this year, after announcing the result, there would be big screens where results would be projected for everybody in the community to see the results,” Mrs Osei said at the 2016 Forum on Election at the Faith Congregation Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Madina Estate.
Mrs Osei said the Commission is resolute in its conviction to ensure a peaceful election, stressing: “We are committed to ensuring an electoral process that guarantees people the right to cast their ballots without intimidation or violence.”
The forum, which was organised by the Ecumenical and Social Relations Committee of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, aimed at empowering citizens to fulfill a crucial national responsibility of meeting a spiritual election; and brought together the clergy, political parties, security agencies, the media and public to discuss election, religion, environment, policies and education.
Speaking on the topic: “Elections 2016, How Credible, Free and Fair would it be,” Mrs Osei, commended the Presbyterian Church Madina District for a proactive initiative aimed at building bridges towards ensuring a peaceful electoral process and outcome in 2016.
Sheikh Awal Larry, a Muslim Cleric, expressed worry about the negative comments about the elections and noted that it undermines the integrity, peace, respect and rule of law of the country.
He has therefore charged Ghanaians to make leaders who fall victim of such acts accountable for their derogatory remarks.
“Everybody should come out and condemn leaders who use unwarranted words in the country,” he said.
Sheikh Larry expressed worry at how Muslims are being used to cause problems in the country saying: “Majority of the people who have allowed themselves to be used to cause mayhem by politicians are Muslims.
“Take the Invisible Forces and Azorka Boys for instance, most of them are Muslims and Muslim belief doesn’t promote violence, instead we stand for peace”.
He therefore called on all especially Muslims and the youth not to allow themselves to be used by any political party to cause violence as no political party could change them.
Speaking on the theme: “Be of one mind, Live in Peace,” Professor Kwame Karikari, the Dean of Communication Studies of the Wisconsin International University College, Accra; noted that it is very important for citizens to condemn the culture of political communication in the media and on public platforms.
“In democracy, one very important ingredient is tolerance and accommodation of differing, contrasting and opposing viewpoints.
“The way in which political parties are using radio in promoting a culture of intolerance, they are using thuggery to silence opponents and legitimate critics of their words and deeds, this is why so many people sometimes say that the violent language on radio threatens peace,” he said.
The Right Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, the Moderator of General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, urged the media to be professional nation builders through their works.
He also urged civil society, being principal actors who have crucial role in free, fair and credible elections not to be passive as that is Ghana’s major democratic challenge.
Dr Alexander Kaakyire Duku-Frimpong, a Senior Lecturer, Political Science Department, University of Ghana also expressed concern about irrelevant arguments, not abiding by election rules and regulations, influenced by gifts before voting among others as some of the negative vices that hinder peaceful elections.
He advised citizens to refrain from such behaviours for credible, free, fair and transparent elections to be achieved.
A bible was presented to Mrs Osei to signify peace and harmony.