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Vote buying and selling is a shameful showcase – Afari-Gyan
At the hard-hitting keynote lecture for the Constitution Day Public Lecture on Monday, January 8, 2024, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the former Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, bemoaned the unfulfilled promises and open vote-buying practices of politicians, painting a grim image of the nation’s democracy.
Renowned leader Afari-Gyan, who oversaw Ghana’s historic 1992 transition to multi-party governance, delivered a biting indictment of contemporary political practices, complaining that “our politicians spend a lot of time making and repeating promises to the electorate” rather than laying out specific policies. It is uncertain whether politicians themselves genuinely think they can keep all the many promises they make.
He continued by cautioning against the grave repercussions of broken promises, referring to them as “a millstone around a politician’s neck,” with the bad consequences even affecting party members who were not involved in the promise-making process at first.
His harshest criticism was saved for the open market vote-buying and selling that he called “a shameful spectacle” that has tainted recent elections.
“Any vote buying or selling that occurred in the past was done so in secret. Today, that isn’t the case. Now, it appears as though there is an open market where voters may openly sell their votes in broad daylight to politicians, while we all stand by seemingly unaffected. Since vote buying and selling are illegal, it is a disgraceful show.
“Vote buying undermines the idea that we choose our leaders out of our free will, and vote selling undermines the idea that we hold our elected leaders accountable,” he said, emphasizing the illegality of such actions.
Dr Afari-Gyan urged Ghanaians to acknowledge the deterioration of their democratic ideals and demand better from their leaders, saying that his candid assessment of the nation’s democracy should serve as a wake-up call.