In a matter of months, Ghanaians will be heading to the polls to elect a new president and members of parliament as well. This is in line with the democracy that has been prevailing since the country opted for constitutional rule. December though seems far will soon be here and so all issues critical to realizing a successful, free and fair election, need to be addressed as early as is feasible.
A major issue that has cropped up is the fact that the election date, 7th December, falls on a Sunday. If this is what the constitution states then there should be no problem. But all of a sudden, many interest groups are calling out for a change of date for various reasons.
For the Christians, it is the day of the Lord thus we should keep it holy. Indeed we should endeavor to keep it holy but the big question is should we fail to fulfill our constitutional rights, duties and obligations just because it is a Sunday?
The Election Day falling on Sunday does not in anyway prevent people from going to worship or holding prayer sessions or performing whatever their Sunday obligations are to God. In fact we are given a minimum of ten hours to exercise our franchise and I don’t think any individual will be spending the whole of these hours in a church. Currently, most churches in the country have two to four services every Sunday, so all of us wouldn’t have to be at church at the same time. This would even help in maintaining short queues at polling stations compared to huge number of people who would eventually cause confusion were it any other day. Another opportunity the day offers us as a religious people is that we can intensify our prayers for a peaceful election whiles we take turns at the churches and polling stations.
The Muslims are also calling for a change of date as it is a time when the Hajj pilgrimage will be underway. The hajj is a yearly affair whiles the national elections come once in every four years. Our Muslim brothers and sisters will have to take this into consideration and make the right choices during this period.
As some cry for a change in date, some are also happy as their tight work schedules will more than rob them of the chance to vote on a any other day. In 1996, the date fell on a Saturday. The Seventh Day Adventists were the ones calling for a change then but the elections were conducted anyway. Are we saying they were not citizens whose rights had to be ensured? If we didn’t change it then for religious reasons, why change it now?
Let us not harp on the excusable reasons why elections should not be conducted on a Sunday but rather cash in on the good sides of the day and maintain that our constitution be upheld at all times.