The project constitutes civil society contribution towards making the 2016 general elections free, fair and credible.
The key objectives of the project are to reduce the incidence of abuse of incumbency and electoral corruption, and to create a level playing grounds for all the political parties contesting the 2016 elections. The project also seeks to advocate for the enforcement of existing laws as well as possible introduction of new laws, policies and guidelines pertaining to regulating abuse of incumbency and electoral corruption in this year’s, and future elections.
The project has trained twenty ‘Abuses of Incumbency Observers’ and media practitioners drawn from various constituencies across the country to monitor and report on the conduct of all incumbent candidates in the upcoming elections, from 1st June to the end of the elections. The initiative has also set indicators that will serve as parameters for the monitoring team and the general public to judge the incumbent candidates.
The indicators include, abuse of public functions and platforms, access to public facilities, access to services of state-controlled entities, distribution of public posts, use of government development projects, unequal distribution of time and space to parties or candidates on state-owned media, vote buying, gerrymandering, among others.
According to GII, “the credibility of the 2016 elections depends on the extent to which the political playing field is leveled” in giving equal opportunities to political parties to freely campaign. The group believes that, checking those in power will prevent situations which heighten tension, such as challenging of electoral result, violence at polling stations and other unfortunate situations that usually characterise Ghana’s general elections.
Allegations of incumbency abuse have been leveled at almost all past presidents and parliamentary candidates in Ghana , with the latest being the recent ‘Accounting to the people tour’, which saw president John Dramani Mahama going round the country to commission projects ahead of the 2016 elections. The opposition parties have complained that, the government was using state resources to go on a campaign tour indirectly in the name of commissioning projects nationwide.
Source: Public Agenda
By Evelyn Addor