The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has urged candidates and political parties in the December 7 general elections to refrain from vote-buying and selling.
The Commission said reports that some politicians were doling out cash and gifts to woo voters was a disheartening phenomenon which subverted the will of the people to the highest bidder.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday, Mrs Judith Adomako, the Mfantseman Municipal Director of the Commission, said the nation would continue to wallow in abject poverty and underdevelopment if the menace of vote-buying and selling was allowed to fester.
The nation is heading to a point in its democratisation process where the phenomenon of vote-buying had created square-pegs in round holes, she said, adding that the “mass demand and acceptance of tokens and gifts for votes is a recipe for disaster.”
Mrs Adomako said vote-buying was promoting corruption in the political space with its attendant negative impact of depriving the country of accelerated development.
Highlighting some causes, she said a number of political actors seeking political office, buy their way through to office, and then tend to recoup their ‘investments’ through corrupt deals that deprive the nation of the necessary infrastructure and investments.
Poverty levels has made some people susceptible to accepting cash and other items to vote for politicians, she states, adding that such corrupt practices tended to worsen the poverty levels and it needed to be stopped before it got out of hands.
“Over the years, we have only confined the subject of vote buying to lip service and this is gradually eating away our society’s moral principles. Now is the time to move the talk to another level with an advocacy video that brings home the real situation confronting the country.”
Mrs Adomako advised voters to ensure that ballot papers given to them on Election Day had the Electoral Commission’s stamp at the back and must thumbprint for only one candidate and also avoid using pens to write names on the ballot papers.
In the case where a voter made a mistake on the paper, one could go back to the electoral officer with the spoiled ballot paper for replacement, she noted.
She urged politicians and political parties to teach the electorates how to exercise their franchise the correct way to reduce the number of ballots rejected.
The media must also cross check their facts from the right sources for a balanced reportage as it rallied the people to ensure massive turn-out and vote for those who could be trusted to provide the right leadership and make their communities better.