“Finally, all around 9:00 pm, aided by a police escort in the center of a thick charged group, I was equipped to post my polling centre effects at the coalition centre. I speedily left the position not interested in what will happen up coming. At any time I get to chat about this experience, I am often questioned ‘so would you do it once more?’ and my solution has normally been, probably I will, maybe I will not.”
These were being just my text when I final wrote about my not too enjoyable experience as a Presiding Officer in the 2019 district assembly election.
As destiny might have it, once again, I just concluded doing work for the Electoral Commission (EC) in the just ended voters registration training as a Registration Officer (RO) and the concern I always pose about the work of the EC continue to stays: Whilst it may possibly glance simple for a voter to choose the electoral approach for granted, what is it like getting at the other aspect making positive that elections are cost-free and fair and all voters have self-confidence in the technique?
This naturally is a single concern that appears to be to have been relegated to the background in lots of conversations. Even when it crosses the minds of lots of, I am specified it is either intentionally or unintentionally brushed apart even with the relevance of the variety of discourse it is supposed to produce.
Having been actively associated in the procedures of the election in diverse situations as a short term EC official, I can confidently give myself plenty of good reasons to assert that the get the job done of the EC is one particular of the most vital but hardest careers that can be offered to a particular person.
Although the duties of an electoral officer as spelt out on paper may glimpse very straightforward, what pertains on the floor (centres) is a unique ball match entirely.
Aside from encouraging to arrange a free and honest election, electoral officials also have the obligation of controlling election process drama by get together individuals who read meanings to every thing that is performed.
The standard posture of the the vast majority of these celebration people today who throng to the polling centres even when they are not intended to be is possibly you are with me or you belong to the other side.
Have confidence in me, whom you chuckle with, stroll with, discuss to, and the colour of the costume you put on, or whose home you even urinate can all deliver unneeded and harmful suspicions from these occasion folks.
The end result of this is a broken rely on for the EC and a muddying of the serene setting made for the regular person and female who have arrive from their residences and places of work to cast their vote.
This, for me, is the beginning of the insecurity with the electoral system.
I have also noticed around time that an uninformed and a naïve polling/celebration agent is always a thorn in the flesh of the EC official and also a danger to the complete electoral course of action. These persons normally express issues about the procedure unnecessarily they raise slight procedural problems just to halt the process.
Other party folks be a part of in from nowhere, leading to the trade of potent text amongst the occasion people. Items get unsightly, some occasion large wigs eventually surface.
Some of them, relatively than serving to to relaxed points, incite and gas confusion. The centre is thrown into a state of full chaos with almost nothing meaningfully electoral taking place, other than individuals arguing, shouting, battling and the law enforcement having difficulties to preserve peace.
At this stage, it’s extremely hard for the get together men and women to agree on everything. The impudence you see amid some youthful men and women and some bash folks is heartbreaking. What these men and women forget about is that violence has no eyes and sees no color. Harmless men and women come to be victims.
For a qualified EC official like myself, I have always recognized that the thumb and ballot is the most potent peaceful alter tool in this democratic second.
So as just one of my other unwritten but really substantial roles, I attempt as substantially as I can to lead everybody who will come to the centre into peace, alternatively than obtaining drawn into their conflict and their unending sequence of suspicions and tensions that only lead to additional and much more violence.
Consider it or depart it, new happenings prior to the 2020 Presidential elections are adequate to let us know that we are in a special time when peace is most necessary.
The EC and her officers can do their element but achieving a peaceful no cost and a fair election is not confined to only them we all have to add to it.
A tranquil election can be reached commencing from our properties as we go away them to vote from our workplaces with co-staff as we chat and head toward the polling centres to training to use our thumb and not our fist from our political party workplaces as we send agents to characterize our political parties.
In the finish, when peace is realized, we all grow to be beneficiaries of it.
If there is anything at all I am glad about as a worker with the EC, it’s not just the function I perform in serving to arrange a totally free and truthful election but the simple fact that I gather positive energies from preceding experiences to encourage peace.
For all EC officials no matter if long lasting or short-term, I can only say that the task at hand will not be easy, but we have the mandate to guarantee that Ghana proceeds to delight in peace.
To the party bigwigs and celebration brokers who will stop up at the polling centres, be the peace you want to see in Ghana.
My name is Eric Ziem Bibiebome, I am a temporary worker for the EC and I Stand for Peace.