After its sixth (7th) successful and relatively peaceful elections, Ghana’s democratic rating has gone up among electoral observers around the world and has been touted as an example worthy of emulation around the continent. The achievement of this feat notwithstanding, Ghana continues to be plagued with perpetual fear and threat of democratic relapse. The proliferation of the peace industry that calls for peaceful elections in the lead up to elections in Ghana; the flight of many people from the shores of the country when there is going to be a major election; the hoarding of foodstuffs by the citizenry in the lead up to elections; and the inundated calls on God by churches and Ghanaians during incessant prayer meetings during peak election seasons attests to the fact that Ghana is sitting on the time-bomb. What would likely cause an explosion of the time-bomb is as a result of the ignorance and counter-productive role of the youth in the nation’s electoral process.
As a result of ignorance, there are several cases of rejected ballots in every election in Ghana in a manner that undermines the sovereign will and choice of leadership of the country by the population, particularly the youth who are in the majority in terms of Ghana’s population. The incidence of the high rate of rejected ballots ultimately leads to voting without choosing, a phenomenon that has the potential of making election results contentious and sparking violence. Also, virtually all the elections in Ghana have been saddled with violence with young people being both the victims and perpetrators. In their jobless situation, they are easily recruited by selfish politicians as foot-soldiers, voting machines and agents to be deployed to fight the dirty political wars of politicians. This has led to the formation of several vigilante groups by politicians for the purposes of promoting their interests in every major electoral contestation, a phenomenon that has resulted in several acts of violence and continues to threaten Ghana’s political stability. A report from the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) on Ghana’s election 2008, 2012 and again in 2016 warned that youth groups like ‘Kandahar, Aluta and Azorka’ boys in the New Patriotic Party and National Democratic Congress continue to pose a threat to Ghana’s electoral processes and democracy as they perpetuate incidence of thuggery and violence such as seizure of public places of convenience and invasion by party youth groups of some public offices. Some of the violent activities have also been reported by the media, including the unlawful takeover of public installations and services, such as toll booths and illegal entry and seizures of state properties in the custody of former government functionaries and political opponents. These anti-democratic tendencies point to the fact that Ghana’s democracy is on a time bomb.