Lawyer Eric Delanyo Alifo, a stalwart of NDC the Ho West Constituency wonders why the bosses of his party look on while office seekers in internal elections buy their way to victory although some might not be fit at all for the positions they seek. He cannot also understand why the party makes internal contests for positions at the branches, constituency, region, and national so expensive for our young and energetic members who only want to step up to assist in the organization of the party, and mobilizing support for it.
Lawyer Alifo argues that although many who abhor the overly monetization of Ghana’s politics think that very little or nothing can be done about it, he disagrees with that position. He also believes that there may indeed, be genuine efforts to support the party’s executives (delegates) in many ways long before elections, the act of doling out monies to them, or giving out goodies to them purposely to influence their votes must be distinguished and prohibited with dire consequences to offenders. He thinks his party must issue guidelines against the practice, reminding the party executives that “where there is a will, there is a way.”
Lawyer Alifo expresses his thoughts in the following article just after NDC’s constituency elections.
READ HIS FULL STATEMENT BELOW
NDC MUST DISCOURAGE EXPENSIVE INTERNAL ELECTIONS AND UNECESSARY BRIBING OF DELEGATES FOR VOTES
In our recent constituency elections across the nation, many of those elected were not necessarily the best candidates for their positions, and were not the ones the delegates would have ordinarily elected. Most energetic and hardworking candidates could simply not make it because the process was too expensive for them. They did not have the resources to buy their way to victory. A few very rich people, with selfish interests have hijacked our internal elections, and the party hierarchy is looking on unconcerned.
It is strange that even in internal elections, in which aspirants are merely ambitious to put their energies to the service of the party, to assist in mobilizing support for it, and having a hand in its management at various levels, they have to incur huge financial costs by paying dues for those who would nominate them, and endorse their forms; go round entire constituencies to meet delegates; give out cash to the branches; and worse of all, also give out monies and goodies to individual delegates as well in order to influence them (the delegates) to vote for them.
Surprisingly, our party did not even bother to issue a single guideline to prohibit or regulate these kinds of activities, which everyone recognizes as destructive for our democracy. The leadership of our party has adopted the unfortunate posture that although it is dangerous that the rich, but not necessarily, those qualified and competent are taking advantage of the economic conditions of our delegates, and regrettably manipulating them with money to vote for the highest bidder in internal elections, there is simply nothing anybody can do about it.
You would hear many Ghanaians complain about “monetization” of our politics, and yet hear the same people suggest that there is no solution to it, and thereby implying that the dangerous practice must remain and become the new norm, and if anyone is minded to run for elective office, the person must just look for sufficient money to distribute to delegates to influence them. I disagree vehemently with this position. Those, who hold this view are very much part of the problem. They are the reason why those who can act to prohibit the practice are doing absolutely nothing about it. I believe there is a solution to this problem, and we can deal with it if we are willing to. Let’s remember that _where there is a will, there is a way._
I think it is about time the leadership of our party rose to the occasion to ban certain activities during internal elections, particularly, the distribution of money and goodies to party delegates on the eve of elections, and at the venue of elections when voting is about to start or ongoing.
Our party executives (delegates) may be supported in various ways, but there must be very clear guidelines to prohibit certain handouts to them, which would be clearly understood as incentives to them to influence their votes. Scapegoats may be easily found and disqualified swiftly if the guidelines are clear enough. This shall send a strong signal to all, and that shall be the beginning of return to sanity in the process. Some people think nobody may be willing to report offenders. I disagree.
If the party remains unconcerned, and an already out-of-hand canker festers even further, those who shall be muzzled out of internal contests by others with deep pockets may see the party as not creating equal opportunities and a fair playing field for all of its members to develop their potentials and careers. Aggrieved members may not see a good future for them in the party, and their enthusiasm shall dwindle, and the repercussions shall be dire.
The guidelines for our regional and national elections are already out, but I think they can still be revised to proscribe the senseless buying of votes. This call is even more urgent and appropriate now in light of the hard times we are presently facing in Ghana, which require serious austerity measures. Next is our parliamentary primaries, where the profligacy is more pronounced. We shall be expecting our party leadership to be bold and issue guidelines to prevent vote-buying in order to bolster the confidence of our supporters all over the country. We shall be watching keenly. Let me conclude by saying again that WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY. The party must act now.
Thank you all for reading.
*Eric ƉELANYO Aliƒo, Esq.*