By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
Come February next year, district level elections would be held in two hundred and sixteen districts to elect more than six thousand assembly members throughout the country. Currently many people are lacing their boots to offer themselves as candidates to contest the seats.
In view of the need to involve all categories of people on the coming district councils, some civil society organizations with funding from donor agencies have began working to encourage qualified persons particularly women and the physically challenged to offer themselves for election as assemblymen and women. However owing to the low level of publicity and lack of interest in the electoral process not many people are aware of the impending elections which are only three months away.
Some people spoken say they have not heard that the elections once postponed from October this year are coming on in February while others blame the low level of interest to failure of some district assemblies to live up to expectations in their duties to clear refuse and repair roads and bridges under their care. Other people simply particular the poor and jobless would like to be left alone to mind their own business of looking for jobs to do to eke out a living.
It appears that this situation which is almost nationwide must be dealt with before it gets out of hand to affect the coming elections. Recently Voter apathy set into all sections of the nation when voter registers were opened for those who turned 18 to come forward to be registered.
It was poorly patronized in much the same way when the registers were later put on display at exhibition centers throughout the country. Mr. Amadu Sulley, a Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) was disappointed over the emerging voter apathy during District Level Elections since the coming of the 1992 constitution as against the presidential elections which are well patronized.
He called on relevant stakeholders in the country’s electoral process to create adequate awareness in the run up to the District Level Election to increase voter turnout.
Mr sulley lamented over the low turnout of observed that over the years, turn out at the District Level Elections and considered it regrettable.
In view of the unfortunate situation it is the desire of many people that the we together with the government must do something about it. If not there is the likelihood that the voter apathy will get out of hand in the coming district level elections and be extended to the coming presidential and parliamentary elections.
Apart from releasing more than 55 million Ghana cedis to the Electoral Commission (EC) for the conduct of the 2014 District Assembly Elections The government has an additional duty to resource the Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and other civil society bodies to sensitize the people on the importance of the district level elections.
This can be done through the involvement of the religious bodies, NGOS and traditional authorities to reach out to their followers through sermons and meetings. Educational institutions should also be made to get involved in this program throughout the country. In the interactions with the people the real reason for their being apathetic will be known for solution to be found to it.
The national media commission has decided to whip up interes in the coming elections through the private and publicly owned media organizations if we succeed in doing all these we shall get a large number of people to show interest in the district level elections and by extension get them to show interest in the presidential and parliamentary elections in the coming years
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