Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, former Chairman of Ghana’s Electoral Commission, has painted a stark picture of the country’s democracy, lamenting politicians’ broken promises and open vote buying in a hard-hitting keynote address during the Constitution Day Public Lecture on Monday, January 8, 2024. The event was organized by the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Law School and the One Ghana Movement.
Afari-Gyan, a renowned figure who presided over Ghana’s crucial transition to multi-party rule in 1992, delivered a scathing critique of modern political practices, stating that instead of outlining concrete policies, “our politicians spend a lot of time making and repeating promises to the electorate. One cannot be sure that even the politicians themselves believe that they can fulfil the numerous promises that they make.”
He went on to warn of the dire consequences of unfulfilled promises, calling them “a millstone around a politician’s neck,” with the negative effects spilling over and even impacting party members who had no initial role in the promise-making enterprise.” But Afari-Gyan’s criticism went beyond broken promises. He reserved his sharpest rebuke for what he described as “a shameful spectacle” of the open market of vote buying and selling that has marred recent elections.
“In days gone by, whatever vote buying or selling there was took place in secrecy. It’s not so these days. What we have now looks like an open market where candidates can freely buy votes and citizens can freely sell their votes in broad daylight while we all look on seemingly unconcerned. It is a shameful spectacle because vote buying and vote selling are unlawful.”
He emphasized the illegality of such practices, highlighting how “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.” Dr. Afari-Gyan said his blunt assessment of the country’s democracy should serve as a wake-up call, urging Ghanaians to recognize the erosion of their democratic values and demand better from their leaders. “All is not well with our democracy,” he added.
By: Citi Newsroom