Vote buyers must be jailed- IDEG urges but politicians disagree

The Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance, (IDEG) Dr Emmanuel Akwetey is calling for the arrest and prosecution of politicians who bribe their way to power.

Dr Akwetey insists such practices are offensive to the laws of the country and the police must be seen to be cracking the whip.

He said this during an interaction with the Greater Accra regional police command Wednesday.

Issues of vote buying have pervaded the country’s election right from the district to national elections.

Politicians always accuse each other of bribing electorates with money, food and other items. The recent CPP presidential primary was not spared the allegations.

Citing a case in the United Kingdom, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey says Parliamentarians were jailed for violating the laws on privileges, allowances etc.

This was after the UK police had investigated the MPs and found them culpable for the claims made against them.

“It is the kind of policing that we hope we are going to see in elections. The enforcement of the law in election. How money is being used openly and fearlessly,” he said.

But the politicians are kicking against such a proposal.

George Lawson
A deputy General Secretary of the NDC George Lawson said allegations of vote buying are nothing but sour grapes from losing candidates.

“These are just hearsays. Is there any evidence?” he asked.

He said if the police were to arrest any politician what exactly will he be investigating?

He challenged persons advocating for the arrest of politicians in Ghana to monitor the elections in US and see if what is practiced there is any different from what pertains in Ghana.

“Those talking do not know what it takes for one to be elected,” he said.

The Director of Communications of the NPP Nana Akomea would not endorse the vote buying but wondered whether there is a law that could adequately criminalise the hosting of voters by politicians.

“Is there a law that will adequately satisfy what we are looking at?” he asked.

He was answered by a legal practitioner Yaw Oppong who said the country’s laws are replete with sanctions applicable to any person or group of persons who attempt to bribe their way to power.

He cited sections of the PNDC Law 284 which frown on vote buying and any other forms of bribery by politicians and their supporters for purposes of winning elections.

“Section 33, the sub head there is bribery. A person commits the offense of bribery if he directly or acting through another person gives money or obtains an office for a voter in order to induce the voter to vote or refrain from voting.

“II corruptly does such an act on account of the voter having voted or refrained from voting or make a gift or provide something of value to induce the voter to vote in a certain way.

“III. If he advances or pays money or causes money to be paid to or for the use of a person with the intent that the money or part of shall be expended in bribery at an election…” Yaw Oppong quoted the law as saying.


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