Monday, August 31, 2015

Ghana: Let’s ensure successful district level elections

Barring any hitches, Ghanaians will go to the polls on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, to elect assembly members for the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.

Except in the Dichemso Electoral Area in the Ashanti Region, where a Kumasi High Court has placed an injunction on the elections, the district level elections (DLEs) will come off throughout the country and will also be used to elect members of the unit committees in those electoral areas.

To ensure a successful and peaceful process, the Daily Graphic would like to entreat all Ghanaian voters to show commitment to the process by going out to vote for their preferred assembly members and Unit Committee members.

As agents of development at the district and unit levels, the district assembly concept must be supported by all of us getting involved in the selection of our representatives at the local level to develop our communities.

Regrettably, voter turnout in DLEs has been consistently low over the years. Factors that account for this low turnout are numerous, including inadequate voter education by the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), voter fatigue, fear of intimidation and disenchantment of voters resulting from the postponement of the elections from March 3, 2015 till now.

Others are religious reasons, long queues at polling stations, complacency and the perception that one’s candidate will or will not win.

The EC and the NCCE must endeavour to strategise to increase voter turnout in the DLEs.

The DLEs being a non-partisan national exercises, they should engage the EC and NCCE to immediately intensify voter education, improve access to polling stations to increase voter turnout and strengthen security at the various polling stations.

While the two bodies are working to create an enabling environment for the electorate to exercise their franchise in a free and fair atmosphere to ensure a high turnout, the Daily Graphic would like to encourage all voters to ensure violence-free elections.

To ensure that voters must behave responsibly, be one another’s keeper and avoid being incited by politicians who will lead them astray and into trouble.

Voters must avoid causing chaos and mayhem that will jeopardise the peace being enjoyed in the country.

The public is enjoined to cooperate with the security agencies to observe all electoral regulations, while the police must be more vigilant to avert any disturbance.

It is gratifying that the Ghana Police Service and other security agencies are ready to provide security for the elections.

In line with that, the timely deployment of combined teams of personnel from the Ghana Police Service, the Ghana Prison Service, the Ghana National Fire Service and the Ghana Immigration Service to various polling stations and locations to maintain law and order for the protection and conduct of the election is vital.

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