Free and Fair

 

To win the trust and faith of all the stakeholders (i.e., the voters, the political parties and the candidates) within any electoral process, the system must at the very least incorporate:

81. ....... (e) free and fair elections, which are— (i) by secret ballot; (ii) free from violence, intimidation, improper influence or corruption; (iii) conducted by an independent body; (iv) transparent; and (v) administered in an impartial, neutral, efficient, accurate and accountable manner.

It is indeed refreshing to note that the Constitution grants political parties an important position with regard to the electoral process by establishing a Political Parties Fund, and directing that State broadcasting services afford fair and equal coverage to all the parties.

92. Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for— (a) the reasonable and equitable allocation of airtime, by Stateowned and other mentioned categories of broadcasting media, to political parties either generally or during election campaigns; (b) the regulation of freedom to broadcast in order to ensure fair election campaigning; (f) the establishment and management of a political parties fund; (h) restrictions on the use of public resources to promote the interests of political parties; ........

Sub-clause (h) above is important in terms of fairness in that it seeks to prevent State officers and State Organs from offering any covert assistance to any ideology or political party - what may be referred to as 'improper influence' (see sub-clause 81. (e) (ii) above). Even more important is the provision that such a State Officer must quit office several months prior to an election (unless of course it's a by-election).

99. (2) A person is disqualified from being elected a member of Parliament if the person— (a) is a State officer or other public officer, other than a member of Parliament;

 

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