At first glance, yesterday’s lead story of The Chronicle looks innocuous. But the directive to Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to deliver the vote at all cost for the ruling National Democratic Congress has the potential of destabilising this society.
The Chronicle reported that the paper had stumbled on a directive from the ruling party high command to MMDCEs in the Ashanti Region to provide funding and actively involve themselves in the campaign to amass one million votes targeted by the National Democratic Congress in the region.
A week earlier, this paper had reported on a directive to the MMDEs in the Western Region to actively involve themselves in the campaigns, and ensure that all those contesting for parliamentary seats in the region get to Parliament House in Accra.
The MMDCEs are on orders from party headquarters to ensure that President Mahama gets re-elected, no matter what. It does not take any soothsayer to forecast trouble for this country if all mayors and other chief executives should abandon their duties and engage in this partisan assignment using the common fund under their care.
In their usual scheme of denying the truth until caught pants down, The Chronicle does not expect authorities at the Adabraka head office of the NDC, or Government House, to own up for this dangerous development in our political evolution. The Chronicle takes this opportunity to warn those who think state cash belongs to members of the ruling party, to re-examine their consciences.
MMDCEs are not magicians who could conjure cash and other resources for these campaigns from the air. These officials of state are going to fall on their various assemblies’ common fund, which belong to the people and are meant to alleviate the chronic poverty afflicting this society, especially, those choking in our rural settings for lack of resources.
District assembly funds are meant to bring development to the various districts, and not to aid the ruling party to buy the vote. It is unfortunate, but the impression is being created that MMDCEs are sent to the various assemblies to do the bidding of the party in power.
MMDCEs are appointed by the President. That is what the Constitution says. But beyond their appointments, these officers are mandated to be responsible to the entire people of the various assemblies. They represent all members of political parties, as well as those who owe allegiance to no political groups.
It must be drummed home that using state resources to campaign for one political party amounts to gerrymandering, which distorts the vote and creates disaffection in members of society who are not aligned to the ruling party.
One of the major sources of conflicts in Africa especially, is the realisation by opponents of the ruling class that they had been short-changed in the various processes leading to the vote. And that state money had been misapplied in getting the incumbent re-elected.
The stakes are high as Ghanaians enter the home stretch for the 2016 vote. So are emotions. One pre-requisite for calming nerves is for an even playing field to be created for all those contesting the vote.
The realisation that one group of people have had a head start from funds belonging to the state, is a recipe for confusion. That is one reason why The Chronicle is calling for a statement in Parliament House on the issue from the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.
Election-related conflicts are what threw our next door neighbours into turmoil. Ghanaians cherish the peace that is currently prevailing. Like most Ghanaians, The Chronicle is urging peace, before, during and after the elections.
That means the creation of an even-playing field in the run-up to the elections. It is incumbent on state officials to stop the tendency to apply state funds for the NDC campaign. It is dangerous, we dare state.
While we are at it, The Chronicle is inviting the National Peace Council to be interested in the matter and intervene before the harm is done. We re-state with emphasis. The stakes are very high indeed!