EC vows to go tough on vote buyers

The Electoral Commission has promised to put before court persons engaged in vote buying during the November elections when credible evidence is made available.

 The EC’s decision comes on the heels of proposals by civil society group, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) for the Ghana Police to prosecute all persons engaged in vote buying ahead of and during the this year’s general elections.

The Commission’s Principal Public Relations Officer, Sylvia Annor, told Joy News’ Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah her outfit will go hard on such offenders.

“We can only facilitate the prosecution of people that we have seen visibly or physically when we have the evidence that Mr A is giving money to Mr B for [to buy votes] then we can proceed,” she said.

She underscored the need for the public to be vigilant and prompt the EC when they see people offering money for votes.

“The Electoral Commission may not be at certain places at certain times so that if you are a good citizen of this country and you see something happening, you have a right and the responsibility to cause the arrest of that person,” she said.

IDEG Executive Director, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, first made the call for the arrest and prosecution of politicians who bribe voters during an interaction with the Greater Accra Regional Police Command early this month.

Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey

Dr Akwetey noted that vote buying was against the tenets of democracy and contrary to the laws of Ghana, and called on the police to crack the whip.

Vote buying is an open secret during elections in the country.

Politicians always accuse each other of bribing electorates with money, food and other items.

Dr Akwetey cited the UK as an example of countries where politicians have been jailed for buying votes and suggested that same should be done in Ghana.