Mr Foster Adase-Adjei, the ActionAid Ghana Programmes Officer for Volta and Oti regions, has urged women and persons with disability to develop a keen interest in the 2023 District Assembly and Unit Committee elections and participate in the contest.
He said their participation would help promote equality and inclusion in local governance, ensuring that no one was left behind in Ghana's development.
As part of ActionAid Ghana's (AAG) efforts towards women's rights, the programmes team in the two regions were organising community-based sensitisation with a focus on women and persons with disability to propel them for the upcoming district-level elections.
Mr Adase-Adjei said this at Koru, a farming community in the Kadjebi District of the Oti Region, during a community engagement.
The NGO is collaborating with the Kadjebi District Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to have the exercise done.
'Open literature had it that women and persons with disability are the most marginalised in our societies from decisions that affect their lives to access and control over resources,' he said.
'They are also discriminated against, deepening their vulnerability.'
'We believe that when women too are given the opportunity to lead, they can change the very status quo that discriminates against them.'
Mr Daniel Agbesi Latsu, the Kadjebi District Director of the NCCE, said the Commission's involvement in the programme was in fulfilment of Article 24 (2e) of the 1992 Constitution, to promote gender and disability balance in compliance with the Sustainable Development Goal Five (SDG 5).
He said voting was a constitutional right and to vote was a civic duty, in which everyone must participate fully.
'The level of voter apathy and disinterest in the district level polls by the electorates, over the years, are a threat and setback to the development of democratic governance in the country,' he said.
On qualifications, Mr Latsu said a candidate must be a registered voter, a citizen of not less than 18 years of age, and an ordinary resident in the district in which he/she seeks elections, among other things.
'Educational qualification should not be a barrier in contesting since district assemblies conduct their businesses in English and in any Ghanaian Language common to the communities in the district.'
On roles of an assembly member, he said, he/she must maintain close contact with the electoral area, consult the people on issues to be discussed in the district assembly and seek their views, opinions and proposals to present to the assembly.
Mr Latsu, who was a former Assemblyman for the Keyime Electoral Area in the Agortime-Ziope District of the Volta Region, explained that a member must meet the electorate before each meeting of the assembly and then report back to them.
The report should include the general decisions of the assembly and its executive committees and actions he/she had taken to solve problems raised by residents in the electoral area.
The Local Government Law, 1988 (PNDCL 207) introduced the District Assemblies Concept with the view to giving a boost to the decentralisation and local governance in Ghana, hence disinterest in the polls would defeat the intent.
Mr Boniface Klomegah, former Assemblyman for Okrakrom Electoral Area, on behalf of the community, commended the NCCE for the programme and called for more such programmes to enlighten the people.
Similar programmes were held at Kpalime Kofe and Ampeyo communities, as well as the Assemblies of God Church at Kadjebi, and the Church of Pentecost at Menuso, among others.
Source: Ghana News Agency