The Upper East Regional Programme Officer of NCCE Mr. Akolgo Samuel (PCEO) undertook a series of programmes on citizens’ participation in governance.
Upper East Regional Alliance for Mental Health Stakeholders Meeting
The Upper East Regional Alliance for Mental Health stakeholders meeting was organised by the Basic Needs-Ghana, an NGO on 6/8/19 at Catholic Social centre in Bolgatanga Municipality of Upper East Region.
Mr. Akolgo Samuel encouraged Regional Alliance for Mental Health stakeholders to participate in the upcoming District Level elections and referendum on the MMDCEs elections.
Mr. Akolgo Samuel had an opportunity to educate the participants on upcoming District level elections and referendum on the MMDCEs elections. He explained that Article 243 (1) states that there shall be District Chief Executive for every district who shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the Assembly present and voting at the meeting. Article 248 (1 & 2) enjoins that a candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit shall present himself to the electorate as an individual, and shall not use any symbol associated with any political party. A political party shall not endorse, sponsor, offer a platform to or in any way campaign for or against a candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit.
Article 55(3) enjoined that, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for election to any public office either than to district assemblies or lower local government unit.
According to Akolgo Samuel, Article 55 is one of the entrenched provisions in the 1992 constitution that the government recently took a step further in the process and presented an amendment bill to Parliament. The proposed changes would involve amending article 55(3), which bans political party activity in district-level elections to make MMDCES elected on a partisan basis and also allow political parties to be involved in local level elections.
He said since Article 55 is an entrenched provision, the referendum requires a turnout of at least 40% of those qualify to vote and 75% of the vote must YES.
He further explained that, in a democratic society such as ours, one cardinal feature of governance is the process of selecting leaders to form the government or exercise other relevant governance responsibilities through the mechanism of the election. For this purpose, Ghana’s Constitution in its Preamble affirms and highlights the nation’s commitment to the principle of Universal Adult Suffrage as one of the cardinal principles of democracy on which our Constitution is formulated. This principle establishes the right of every adult citizen who is qualified by the criteria set by the Constitution to exercise participation in the selection process by voting in elections conducted by the Electoral Commission for that purpose.
Mr. Akolgo Samuel in his conclusion emphasised that voting gives citizens the opportunity to participate in the governance process leading to the overall development of the country. Since it is the duty of every responsible citizen to contribute to the progress and development of the country, voting also presents the opportunity to fulfill this duty to the state.
He, therefore, encouraged qualified persons to turn out and participate in the electoral processes and contribute to the development of local governance. It is your civic right and responsibility vote in elections.
Akolgo Samuel was at the GBC Ura-Radio (89.7 FM) on the same topic; Referendum on MMDCEs election on 2/8/19 in Bolgatanga.
Radio programme on Women participation in local governance
Mr. Akolgo Samuel educated the general public on the importance of women's participation in local governance. He explained that society would experience more meaningful, accelerated growth and development if women are given the opportunity to participate in the mainstream decision-making effort through active politics and other public career engagements and assume decision – making status. He said women, like human resources, have the equal natural endowment of talents and abilities as their male counterparts which are needed to complement those of men in order to produce balanced development of the society. He further explained that society is made up of men and women, so it is the two gender entities that are collectively responsible for developing society by combining their respective gender roles.
He encouraged the general public to nominate more women candidates in their communities or electoral areas to give them leverage in the District level contest and also open up for females to higher levels of leadership positions for development.
Compiled by Akolgo Samuel (PCEO)