The Ashanti Regional Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in collaboration with the Electoral Commission (EC) and Information Services Department (ISD) has successfully launched the Educational Campaign towards 2019 DLEs and Referendum to Amend Article 55(3) of The 1992 Constitution. The Regional launch kick-started intensive public education campaigns across the region with the objective of securing maximum participation of the electorates in the upcoming Referendum and District Level Elections. This public education campaign is so crucial since DLEs have suffered low voter turnout over the years. It is more so since the December 17 referendum is to be held concurrently with the election of Assembly and Unit Committee members across the country.
The Regional Director of NCCE, Mr. Arthur Wilson indicated that the NCCE is well poised and has what it takes to pull out an appreciable voter turnout to further boost Ghana’s participatory democratic process, especially at the District Assembly level. He opined further that the Referendum is targeted at amending 55(3) to allow Political Parties’ participation in District Level Elections. He, therefore, called on all stakeholders, community leaders, traditional authorities, faith-based organisations, and the general public to open their doors to officials of the NCCE and other key stakeholders such as Information Services Department for their public education across the Region to ensure a successful electioneering process at the District level.
Speaking at the colorful and well patronised event, the Chairman of the NCCE, Ms. Josephine Nkrumah pointed out that the public education campaign is so critical since it will require 40% voter turnout and 75% ‘Yes’ vote to legitimize the referendum. She paid glowing tribute to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for their support. She also sent out felicitations to the Electoral Commission, Information Services Department, and Political Parties for their buy-in in the intended massive campaign across the country and pledged the cooperation of her outfit to ensure a successful process.
Ms. Josephine Nkrumah also pointed out that her outfit is exploring all possible avenues to ensure that it achieves a target of 75% voter turnout in this year’s DLE and Referendum. She said the NCCE, with its presence in every district across the country, is very much poised to step up education and awareness creation to ensure improvement in voter turnout for this year’s DLE and Referendum.
Speaking on behalf of the various Political Parties, Mr. Samuel Pine, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP, thanked the NCCE for such a laudable effort and pledged the full support of the Political Parties towards ensuring maximum participation in the upcoming DLE and Referendum. The Regional Directorates of EC, ISD, NALAG, and representative of Civil Society Organisations pledged their commitment and support towards the campaign.
The Kumasi Metro chairman of the Federation for the Disabled (GFD), Mr. Prince Debrah called for public support for persons with disabilities who have the interest to contest in the DLEs. He also stressed the need for all polling stations to be made accessible to persons with disabilities. Mr. Debrah further demanded that the processes leading to the District Level Elections be made fair for all persons to contest.
Launching the Campaign, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Madam Elizabeth Agyemang who stood in for the Ashanti Regional Minster assured the audience of the Government's commitment towards ensuring a successful process. She said the amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution would pave way for political parties to be involved in elections at the District level and would give backing to Parliament’s Amendment of Article 243 (1) to allow for the election of MMDCEs as envisioned by the President of the Republic of Ghana.
The event was chaired by Nana Ampofo Kyei Baffour II, the Chief of Kumasi-Asem, and had in attendance traditional rulers including the Queen Mother of Sawua and other dignitaries.