Unless you have been hiding under a rock in the last 3 months, you should know that Election Day in Ghana is next Monday December 7. I daresay aside the pandemic making news all year, the imminent elections have been a close second. A quick search online will give you all countries that have held (or are yet to hold) their elections this year. In Africa alone, no less than 16 countries are voting.
Since 1992 Ghana become a democratic state, which allows for citizens aged 18 and above will chose their preferred presidential and parliamentary candidate via a voting system. A presidential candidate is one who seeks to become president of the country whilst a parliamentary candidate is one who seeks to represent his or her local residents in parliament.
In the days to come, our airwaves and social media spaces will be inundated with a lot of election and governance jargons- shall we look at some of the frequently used terms and words for this election season? We would want to make sense of all the talk that will occupy our media space for the from now till a President is declared. Let’s see how much we can cover in this column today:
- Ballot – a sheet of paper used to cast a secret vote for one’s preferred candidate. E.g. Ghana’s presidential candidate will be elected by a secret ballot
- Ballot Box – a sealed box or bin in which voters put their completed ballots
- Campaign – it’s the planned series of activities (by a candidate) to communicate their message,g. The team put together a campaign drive
- Campaign trail – this refers to the physical route that takes a candidate (presidential or parliamentary) who is running for public office to different parts of their community or country in order to talk to and convince people to vote for them, e.g. The parliamentary candidate talked to market women met on the campaign trail.
- Constituency – communities that are grouped together for the purposes of administration and or election. g. each constituency in Ghana is represented by an MP
- Constituent – a member of a constituency. For e.g. Mensah is a constituent of the Yagaba-Kubori constituency
- Electoral Commission – the body responsible for overseeing the implementation of an election process in a country. For e.g. Jean Mensa is the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Ghana
- MP – this is an acronym that stands for Member of Parliament. An MP is one who represents constituency in Parliament. g. I need to meet with the MP for my constituency.
- Parliament – this word comes from the French word ‘parler’ which means, to speak. Parliament houses MPs who, aside of creating laws to govern us, speak on their constituents’ behalf. g. The Parliament of Ghana is led by its Speaker, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye
- Parliamentary candidate – this is someone who is standing to be elected for Parliament. g. The parliamentary candidate for my constituency is very energetic
- Polling station – the first word is one of the most mispronounced during elections in Ghana. It is pronounced as “pole-ing”, and not “pull-ing” as many mispronounce it. So, a polling station is where people go to vote in an election, g. Voters are required to leave their polling stations right after voting.
- Polling agents – they are usually representatives of candidates, overseeing an election on behalf of a candidate. g. All pollical parties have the right to field polling agents at each voting station.
- Presidential candidate – a candidate who is representing their political party in a presidential election. For e.g. A presidential candidate must have won the votes of their party’s delegates to before running for office
- Run-Off – it’s an election to determine an earlier one where there was no clear winner. It is also referred to, in Ghana, as Round 2. g. per the Ghana constitution, if no candidate secures 50% of the total votes cast the EC can hold a run-off between the 2 leading parties within 21 days
- Voter – this is someone who has the legal right to vote. g. To be a voter in Ghana, you must be 18 years or above
Come Monday December 7, voters all over Ghana will be going to the polls to choose their preferred presidential and parliamentary candidates. It is expected to be a trouble-free activity; if you are not a registered voter, you should not be at a polling statio.
Join me in wishing all the candidates and voters the best in our Presidential and Parliamentary elections. Wait, you do know that Eelection Day is now a holiday, yes?
>>>The writer is a passionate educator who makes learning fun for children under 18 through co-curricular programmes. Through her charity organisation, Young Educators Foundation (YEF) in Ghana, the programmes portfolios have expanded to include literacy programmes in local languages as well as public speaking programmes for the youth.
Based on her work in education and with children, Eugenia is the recipient of many nomination and awards such as a presidential award for the contribution to education over the past decade in 2018. In 2019, she was named as one of the 74 individuals in Those who Inspire Ghana, a global programme that identifies nationals whose experiences are worth sharing. Eugenia believes that children are not the ‘future’, but rather the ‘present’ and so the need to invest in their total development. She is a regular contributor on radio and television shows as well as various public fora on this and related topics.