Military brutality and intimidation has been identified as one of the main reasons why some voters intentionally disenfranchise themselves during general elections. Some residents of Karaga in the Karaga District of the Northern region are unlikely to vote on December 7 if this issue is not dealt with.
A resident, Alhassan Abdul-Rahman gave the example of military men assigned to oversee the orderly conduct of the polls manhandling breast-feeding mothers who stepped out of the queue to breastfeed their babies and returned to take their positions. He said this situation has resulted in many people deciding not to come back to vote at the polling stations.
Several other residents affirmed Abdul-Rahman’s assertion. They strongly cautioned that, the continued brutalization and intimidation of voters has the tendency to destabilize the peace in the area as they may rebel to fight for their right.
The residents brought this to light at a civic engagement forum in Karaga yesterday. The forum was organized by community journalists and members of the Listeners Club, an offshoot of the Youth Speak Up project in Karaga District.
The Youth Speak Up project seeks to develop the competencies of young reporters to support active citizenship and engagement of communities in some selected districts in the Northern region. The districts include Karaga, Savulugu- Nanton, Saboba and Kumbungu. The project is being jointly implemented by Youth Empowerment for Life (YE4L), Rural Media Network (RUMNET) and HOPin Academy.
Speaking to Ghnewsnow on the sideline of the civic engagement forum, Project coordinator of Youth Speak Up Mr. Clement Boateng cautioned the candidates against wild promises to the electorate which he says increases the expectation of voters and subsequent disappointment when the promises are not fulfilled.
He implored the candidates to minimize their promises so as not to raise the expectations of voters bearing in mind the cost implication of realizing those promises. He said it is about time candidates kept to realistic promises rather than promising them heaven on earth.
Residents took turns to quiz representatives of the candidates. Some issues raised centered how they politicians would fund the numerous developmental challenges as enumerated by them; dugouts for irrigation, women and children empowerment amongst others.
Alhassan Yabdoo represented the NPP parliamentary candidate who could not come himself on health grounds while the PPP was represented by Alhassan Somua, the NDC candidate who is also the incumbent member of parliament, Mr. Sualihu Dandaawa Alhassan could not attend and did not send a representative as well.
The representatives of the candidates affirmed their resolution to ensure peace before, during and after election. They pledged to conduct decorous campaigns while eschewing acts that have the tendencies of sparking conflict in the area.
Story By: Alima Bawah