The Ghana Voter Registration 2020: Dynamics and Risks of Political Contestation in an Emerging Democracy
After several years of trauniatic extralegal military seizures of power, Ghana in 1992 committed to the international standard that democracies, good democracies, are built on the principle and foundations of the rule of law, respect for human rights, accountable governance and democratic transitions through free, fair and transparent elections, among others.
Ghana’s political landscape, however, has not been free of the challenges associated with egregious violations of the principles of democratic elections. Its elections have been characterised by endemic antagonism, polarisation and intolerance among political parties, especially between the two major political parties—the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
This realisation informs the primary purpose of this monograph. It underscores the affinities between the increasing corrosive sub-culture of political violence and political vigilantism in Ghana’s political discourses and interactions. The study of the 2020 voter registration exercise helps to trace the structural and proximate or circumstantial factors that have and continue to inform Ghana’s propensity towards these twin vices. It identifies four broad contributory factors that exacerbated tensions during the registration exercise: systemic issues, use of violence in resolving such problems, hate speech, and the sometimes arbitrary and frivolous electoral methods and practices.
In a way, these have contributed immensely to apprehensions that the 7 December 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections could witness a rise in political violence.