Election is a very important activity in every democratic dispensation. It gives power to the people and enables them to choose their leaders to take decisions on their behalf. Unlike dictatorship, elections strengthen democracy and give the people the free will to contest various positions. Since Ghana attained independence, the country has used elections in determining the crop of people who lead them at a particular time.
That notwithstanding, many Ghanaians do not know the importance of elections especially at the District Assembly level. Why is this so? Chapter 20 Act 241 - Section three of the Constitution which talks about Decentralization and Local Governance states that, subject to the Constitution, the District Assembly shall be the highest political authority in the district and shall have the deliberative, legislative and executive powers. Act 242 goes on to state that, the District shall consist of one person from every electoral area.
This emphasizes the need for an effective district level election to ensure the people are well represented in the various district assemblies. Since the local government system is to ensure good governance, balanced development of the various assemblies through formation of policies and prudent use of resources among other things, it is necessary for much attention to be given to the district level elections. This will ease pressure from the central government.
An effective local governance brings development to the door step of the various communities in terms of building of schools, health facilities and ensuring the provision of other amenities among other things. But how can all these be done when the election are not given the needed attention?
The election which was scheduled for November 2014 has been postponed to March 3rd, 2015 due to financial constraint and other issues on the part of the Electoral Commission. Media participation is also very low, while the Electoral Commission itself is not serious about public education on the elections.
It is surprising and sad to note that, though we have less than a month to the elections, many people are not aware of it. The question is, what is the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) also doing?
Are they waiting for the election to witness a low turnout before jumping on the various media platforms to make noise? There are so many issues begging for attention but no one seems to be talking about them. Let us get it right this time because it is believed that effective local governance is the key to the development of this country.
BY: STEPHEN AMPONSAH MENSAH, JOURNALIST.