2023 journal of african elections v22n2 eisa transparent democratic governance in africa

Electoral Manipulation in the Grey Zone: Evidence from Ghana’s Parliamentary Elections in 2008 and 2012

Electoral manipulation undermines the function of elections as a mechanism of representation and accountability, and erodes public trust in government institutions; however, our theoretical understanding of its causes is still limited. Research has focused on the blunter forms of electoral manipulation. Less attention has been given to the more subtle forms, although these are more common. This paper investigates one type of subtle electoral manipulation: miscounting, meaning election officers who selectively reject ballots during the counting. It suggests that miscounting (one of the ways in which political candidates can rig elections) is characterised by low risks and high direct costs. On one hand, it is almost invisible, embedded in the sociocultural norms and practices surrounding elections in many African countries. On the other, it is expensive, requiring large amounts of patronage to co-opt election officers. This makes miscounting attractive only to incumbents who fear electoral defeat and have deep clientelist networks. The paper tests this argument against data from the 2008 and 2012 parliamentary elections in Ghana. It shows that the number of ballot rejections is positively correlated with the number of years the party of the incumbent MP has held the constituency seat, but negatively correlated when this variable is interacted with the win-margin in the last parliamentary election. This pattern is consistent with the model, supporting the argument that the effect of electoral uncertainty on miscounting is conditional. When MPs do not have resources at their disposal, they choose other types of electoral manipulation or opt out of electoral rigging altogether.

2023 journal of african elections v22n2 eisa transparent democratic governance in africa

Ensuring Peaceful Elections in Ghana: The Role of Civil Society Organisations in the 2020 Elections

This paper explores the role civil society organisations (CSOs) play in promoting peaceful elections in Ghana. Preventing electoral violence is a key factor in the support of functioning democratic societies, and the role of CSOs in promoting peaceful elections continues to grow with each electoral contest. This paper reviews secondary sources to interrogate the questions about the nature, interventions, impact, and challenges of CSOs in Ghana before, during and after general elections. Specifically, the paper examines the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections using the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) as case studies. Overall, the recommendations in this study suggest CSOs must build synergies to increase collaboration in order to promote peaceful elections and political transitions. In addition, to strengthen their election observation, civic/voter education, peace promotion and violence monitoring roles through sustainable funding, CSOs in Ghana must review their funding strategies to include donations from non-partisan organisations and individuals. Furthermore, to maintain the integrity of CSOs in Ghana, they must develop internally-built transparency and accountability mechanisms such as legal structures to govern their operations.

2023 journal of african elections v22n2 eisa transparent democratic governance in africa

Political Vigilante Violence in Ghana: Its Human Rights Implications

The primary goal of this paper is to consider the incontrovertible links between political vigilante violence and human rights violations in Ghana. In particular, it pays attention to the ways in which politically-related violence thrives. To achieve this, the paper will be guided by the following research objectives: First, to explore the nature of political vigilantism in Ghana’s Fourth Republic. Second, to analyse the human rights issues in political vigilantism within this period. Drawing mainly on experiences of general elections of Ghana’s Fourth Republic, the paper purposes to interrogate the scale of political vigilante violence in Ghana. It contends that there is an intricate link between political vigilante violence and human rights. The paper relies on frustration-aggression theory to consider the ways in which the desire to gain political power leads to rivalry and eventually to violence.

journal of african elections vol21 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa

Election Petition and the Future of Electoral Reforms in Ghana

The results of Ghana’s 2012 and 2020 elections were challenged in the nation’s
Supreme Court. Even though the court processes in both cases did not alter
the election results, they nevertheless exposed monumental flaws in the
electoral processes. The flaws in the 2012 electoral processes were exposed at
the Supreme Court and featured in the final judgment of the court in a manner
that allowed the Electoral Commission to initiate moves towards electoral
reforms. However, the challenges of the 2020 elections, though exposed at the
courts, were never featured in the final judgment of the Supreme Court. This
paper discusses the implications of the 2020 election petition for the future of
electoral reforms in Ghana. It argues that the rigid application of the letter
of the law by the Supreme Court and the relegation to the background of the
thorny issues of electoral challenges in the 2020 elections, would render the
quest for further electoral reforms difficult. This would then make the future
of any attempt to fine-tune the electoral processes quite bleak.

journal of african elections vol20 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa

Exploring the Socio-Demographic Distribution of Independent Swing Voters in Ghana

Ghana has become a two-party state by default, with the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) emerging as the only political parties with sufficient national appeal to win elections and form governments. Through the power of the ballot, each of them has had the chance of being in government as well […]

journal of african elections vol20 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa

The History of Elections in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda: What We Can Learn from These “National Exercises”

A large literature has described the years after independence from colonial
rule as a period of ‘departicipation’. Africa’s new rulers – whether driven by
personal venality or a sincere commitment to nation-building – swiftly gave
up on elections, or at best held elections that, by denying choice, left violence
as the central dynamic of African politics. This article draws on the cases
of Kenya, Ghana and Uganda in the late 1960s to argue that the emphasis
often placed on the ‘speed and ease’ of this process has been overstated.
Instead, Africa’s politicians and civil servants valued elections as a means to
educate and discipline the public, even as they feared their possible outcomes.
Building on a literature that focuses on the individual experience of elections
rather than the presence or absence of parties, we argue that the rhetoric of
politicians and civil servants shows that they saw elections as ‘exercises’ – a
revealing term – that would train and test their new citizens. Yet this is not
the whole story: voters understood their participation in their own terms
and played a role in how early experiments with elections played out. The
political closures of these years were real, but their course was unplanned
and contingent, shaped partly by popular involvement. These points are not
only of historical value, but also provide important insights into the extent to
which contemporary elections are instruments of elite power or the drivers
of democratisation.

journal of african elections vol18 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa

Biometric Election Technology, Voter Experience and Turnout in Ghana

This study investigates the experiences of voters with election technologies such as the biometric system for voter registration and verification (BVRV), as well as whether such technologies affected both turnout and trust in Ghana’s 2012 and 2016 elections. The paper also explores whether the introduction of BVRVs increased or decreased levels of voter trust in […]

journal of african elections vol17 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa

The Judiciary and Democracy in Ghana’s Fourth Republic

Since the advent of multi-party elections in 1992, Ghana has successfully held six free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections, including the peaceful alternation of power on three occasions. Despite this impressive record, transparent and peaceful elections are never a guaranteed outcome in Ghana. General elections in the country are highly competitive and tightly contested […]

journal of african elections vol17 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa

Is Voting in Ghana Ethnically Based?

Ghanaian scholars often argue that ethnicity is the leading factor shaping the electoral choices of voters in Ghana, and that voting in Ghana, like that of many other African countries, is ethnic-based. This paper seeks to test the validity of these perceptions. Voters in three key constituencies were selected and asked about considerations that shaped […]