The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) has commended the outcome of the just concluded local elections, by the NEC saying, there is a ‘…superlative endorsement of the effort which culminated in one of the most credible elections in our country’s post-colonial history.’
NEC, the commission said, can claim full marks for its organization and execution of the task given to them for the conduct of the elections and that presidential and parliamentary elections have often stolen the limelight since they involve the contest for power at the highest level of statecraft.
However, in a news release signed by the commission’s chairman, George Coleridge Taylor, said the commission is concerned that instead of political parties condemning the sporadic but serious incidents, they “are treated to recrimination and counter accusation by opposing parties.”
Political leaders, the commission said, must do better by concentrating on changing the behaviour “of mobs instead of concentrating their energies against opponents” and that “If impunity is to be curbed, guilt must be squarely established and punished.”
The commission further states that the relatively low turnout during the polls was a result of the electorate’s lack of confidence in the ability of councils to deliver the goods needed by the people.
Prior to the first local council elections, the commission said, hopes were high but people were frustrated that much was not delivered and voter apathy “seemed to have been the major outcome.”
The commission states that the main cause of non-voting seems to have been intimidation – cases of intimidation and violence were “too often placed in an inter-party context, thus transforming the victims as well as their aggressors into party puns…”
This, the commission states, was not good since a credible democracy expects and demands joint condemnation of all forms of electoral violence and intimidation from all reputable political parties and democratic institutions.
The commission also calls for the need to capacitate the local communities for active and effective participation through sustained sensitization on their rights, responsibilities and obligations within the decentralization process.
By John Baimba Sesay