Dr Divine Ayivor, a flagbearer aspirant of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP), said Election 2020 is a test for the Electoral Commission to prove its credibility by offering a fair playing field for all parties.
He said elections were essential parts of the democratic process and a means to managing political competition and conflict in a peaceful manner, hence the buck stops with the EC to carry the process through creditably.
“The EC must purge itself of any political tag and ensure that no party gets any undue advantage over others just because it is in power or in opposition,” Dr Avivor told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra on Sunday.
He said the EC must create a level playing field for all parties to ensure confidence in the Commission and the electoral process through free, fair and transparent polls.
Dr Ayivor, former Pastor of Prince Emmanuel Seventh-Day Adventist Church Ringway, said the media also had a role to play in ensuring a free, fair and transparent election.
He called on the various media organisations, the Ghana Journalists Association and the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association to give all political parties equal space to reach out to the electorate.
He urged the National Media Commission to ensure media accountability towards Election 2020 adding; “The seeming creation of a two-party state by the media is unhealthy for Ghana’s democratic growth”.
Media practitioners must tone down on the boiling political temperature, especially between the ruling New Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Congress, to ensure peaceful general election on December 7, he said.
“The political heat between the NPP and NDC is a threat to our democracy but the media hold the key to reducing the heat for a peaceful election,” Dr Ayivor said.
He said journalists could make a choice to either continue to raise the political tempo, which would invariably create the platform for violence, or reduce the heat to let peace reign.
The political tempo could be reduced through pro-active reportage, creation of enabling environment for all electoral stakeholders, avoiding hate speech proponents and maintaining high professional gate-keeping standards, he noted.
Dr Ayivor entreated journalists not to allow their personal opinions and preferences to influence their reportage in the process leading to the December polls and after.
He said journalists had a role to play in monitoring elections to ensure transparency in the whole process and, therefore, implored them to respect the electoral laws, rules and regulations whilst creating a level-playing field for all political parties to present their messages to the electorate.
The CPP flagbearer aspirant reminded the media of their watchdog role of monitoring to ensure transparency and also educate the public on the need to respect electoral laws, rules and regulations.