Dr Serebor Cuaykoe, head of the Electoral Commission (EC) electoral service, said Tuesday that actions such as tampering with the ballot box, destroying ballot papers, deteriorating posters are violations of the electoral process.
Involvement in electoral fraud means the guy rents a room in jail. Even stealing a ballot box from a polling station can result in a bullet that will kill you, he said.
Dr Quaykoe, speaking at the Youth Days dialogue in Accra, said that electoral violence is one of the most serious threats facing many democratizing societies.
The forum, jointly organised by the EC and the Youth Bridge Foundation, focused on electoral crimes: Unknown threat to peaceful elections.
Dr. Cuayco explained that electoral crimes have been considered illegal under the 1960 Act (Law 29) or electoral laws or ordinances designed to ensure free, fair and competitive elections.
It is an electoral offence to try to vote before the official opening of polls or after their closure. Vote for another person or try to vote for another person, whether alive, dead or fictitious.
As part of efforts to use common sense in the forthcoming elections, Dr Cuaikoé said that no mobile phone should be allowed to use the polling station.
Anyone who comes to the polling station with a mobile phone must return it to the president after the vote to store and pick it up, he said.
According to him, the democratic system of government, the ultimate and sovereign political power of the country is in the hands of the people, and in most cases the young people form the majority of the population.
He said that the strength of any country is its youth, which is the main source of human capital and the main driver of socio-cultural, economic and political development and technological innovation in the world.
Dr. Cuaikoe explained that young people are essential for a leader to come to power, whether it be elections, electoral irregularities or violence.
He explained that in the run-up to all the parliamentary elections, the focus has been on young people and that some young people have played a very positive role in the past, others a negative one.
Dr Quaikoe advised young people to stay away from negative manipulation and to know that politicians cannot be trusted.
He explained that the responsibility for strengthening the political, social, economic and psychological development of Ghana and its people lies with the younger generation.
They should all keep in mind that a politician’s ambition is not worth sacrificing his life or years in prison. Be peacekeepers in your political parties and communities, he said.
Abigaille Nutakor, head of the European Alliance for Gender Equality, Youth and Disability, said that youth is the future and should not be used as a pawn by politicians and others to call for violence in the upcoming elections.
Let your words and deeds build and unite, not destroy and break. You can’t be tempted to adopt voting behaviour, like stealing ballot boxes and double display, she said.
Seth Otteng, Executive Director of the Youth Bridge Foundation, said that over the years Ghana has built a reputation for peaceful elections and that young people have a role to play in maintaining democratic traditions.
He advised young people, especially aspiring voters, to protect their future by avoiding violence during the elections.
Anything that could disturb the peace in the country should be avoided, because peace is the most important factor that determines the economic growth of the country, he said.
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