Welcome to myschoollibrary! Today in our social studies lesson, we will be treating the topic “Electoral Malpractices “. Do have a great time studying with us!
Subject: Social Studies
Topic: Electoral Malpractices
Learning Objectives: The learners should be able to do the following by the end of the lesson:
- Define the term electoral malpractices;
- State the types of electoral malpractices;
- Identify the causes of electoral malpractices;
- State the consequences of electoral malpractices;
- Suggest ways of preventing or minimizing electoral malpractices.
Definition and Types of Electoral Malpractices
Electoral Malpractices can be defined as ways by which people try to influence the outcome of election results through the use of unlawful means. The purpose is for the result to favour their parties or the candidates they support
Electoral Malpractices are a form of political corruption. They are behaviours that spoil the reliability and integrity of elections.
Activities that can be described as electoral malpractices in Nigeria for instance include:
i. Production of fake ballot papers
ii. Manipulation of votes
iii. Hoarding of electoral materials
iv. Underage voting
v. Intimidation of electoral officers or voters
vi. False manifestoes
vii. Election rigging
viii. Distortion or doctoring of results
ix. Lack of discipline in the form, spirit and implementation of the election process and
x. Excessive use of money in politics
Election rigging takes various forms. This includes stuffing of ballot boxes, over-bloated voting registers, special treatment or bribing of voters and election officials, disappearance or destruction of ballot boxes, and so on.
Causes of Electoral Malpractices
i. Craze for Power: When people want political power desperately they try to win elections by all means. They resort to all kinds of tricks including electoral malpractices.
ii. Excessive use of Money in Politics: When elections involve a lot of money people cannot stand the chance of losing all the money they have spent. They therefore look for every means to ensure that the results are in their favour.
iii. Corrupt Electoral Officials: Some electoral officials who are corrupt see the election process as an opportunity to make quick money for themselves, so they collect money in exchange for manipulating the electoral process.
iv. Corrupt Politicians: Some politicians see political power as a means of enriching themselves rather than as an opportunity to serve and represent their people. Hence, they want to enter into public office whether the people want them or not and so they embark on electoral malpractices.
Consequences of Electoral Malpractices
Electoral malpractices are behaviours that spoil the functioning of the electoral system. They make elections irregular and unreliable as a means of choosing leaders. When elections are characterised by malpractices, people refuse to accept the results. This makes the transition from one government to another difficult and unnecessarily long. In some instances where people become provoked, it can lead to the outbreak of violence and disruption of public peace as was experienced in Nigeria during the First and Second Republics. In this situation, it may lead to political instability. Electoral malpractices are, therefore, not desirable because they harm the political system.
The situation in Kenya after the December 2007 presidential election is another example of the consequences of electoral malpractices. Disagreements over the result of the election between the incumbent president and the opposition candidate led to ethnic violence in which hundreds of Kenyans were killed while others fled their homes.
Ways of Preventing or Minimising Electoral Malpractices
i. Voter Education: There should be large scale voter education campaigns on the importance of elections and the votes of the electorate.
ii. Reduction of Illiteracy: The illiteracy rate must be reduced. When people can read and write and are educated, it becomes difficult to manipulate them.
iii. Reduction in Poverty: The poverty rate must be reduced. It is because of poverty that many people engage in electoral malpractices.
iv. Independent Electoral Commission: The electoral commission must be made up of people who have proved themselves to be upright and trustworthy and did not belong to any party in the past. The electoral commission should be made completely independent.
v. Periodic Update of Voters’ Register: The Voters’ register should be updated or revised periodically before the next general elections.
vi. Well-Equipped Police Force: The law enforcement agencies such as tge police force must be adequately equipped and well paid so that they can protect law abiding citizens and officials during elections, and not be bought over by corrupt politicians.
vii. Limitation of Money spent on Political Campaigns: Money politics should be de-emphasied. In fact, government should come up with a law that would limit the amount spend on electioneering campaigns.
viii. Suffer Penalties for Electoral Offenders: Stiffer penalties should be prescribed for those found guilty of engaging in electoral malpractices.
1. What are electoral malpractices?
2. Mention five electoral malpractices in Nigeria
3. What are some of the factors responsible for electoral malpractices in Nigeria. Mention and explain three.
4. What are the effects of electoral malpractices?
5. Explain five ways by which electoral malpractices can be prevented or minimised.
Were you able to answer those questions? Bravo!!
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