The Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is calling on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as well as other investigative agencies to look into incidents of vote-buying in Ghana’s politics especially in the findings of its recent investigative piece on vote-buying.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at CDD-Ghana, Kojo Asante, suggested that the country’s democratic gains risk being eroded if givers and takers of vote-buying inducements are not sanctioned.
The comment was based on a report by the Corruption Watch, an arm of the CDD-Ghana that exposed how some aspirants in the recently-held New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary primaries, allegedly influenced delegates, using money and other items, to garner votes.
The report highlights prominent persons like the Deputy MASLOC CEO, Hajia Abibata Shani Mahama Zakaria; deputy procurement officer at COCOBOD, Alhaji Umar Farouk Aliu Mahama; incumbent Member of Parliament for Kwesimintim Constituency, Joseph Mensah and the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), Dr. Prince Hamid Armah and detailed how they allegedly influenced delegates.
According to Dr. Asante, some of the incidents warrant a thorough inquiry by CHRAJ and appropriate sanctions applied.
“There are legal remedies that are available [to check vote-buying] and there is one that we are going to pursue. I think in the case of the Yendi [constituency], one where MASLOC loans and things were used as part of the inducement, that is in conflict of Article 284 of the Constitution where a public officer puts themselves in conflict for their own private benefit.”
“That is a clear case where we believe CHRAJ has to investigate and sanctions applied because people have to understand that there are laws against some of these things. If everybody is doing it doesn’t mean that it is proper and legal,” he said.
Dr. Asante further suggested that the leadership of political parties must by themselves institute internal mechanisms to deal with the issue of vote-buying.
“I agree that there are reform issues that we have to pursue but the law, when you fall foul, it has to bite, so that people will realize that it is not acceptable. It is not just the person giving but the person receiving should also be punished,” he further indicated.