The general view of majority of Ghanaians is that the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), like several other institutions created by the Constitution, has gone comatose because of years of neglect by successive governments.
Although the NCCE is viewed as the key institution responsible for the enlightenment of Ghanaians on their civic responsibilities, not much can be said about the performance of that core mandate due to the inadequate resources at its disposal.
This and many other factors have been brought to the fore by a survey conducted by the commission in all 275 constituencies and involving people from all professions within the voting age, with the support of the European Union (EU).
A Deputy Chairman in charge of Operations at the NCCE, Mr Samuel Asare Akuamoah, during the launch of the research report, said political parties had also neglected the commission in view of their cold attitude and negative response to its programmes and their refusal to respond to the commission’s overtures and requests.
That is notwithstanding the fact, buttressed by a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Mr Justice Nyigmah Bawole, that political parties stand to gain a lot from the work of the NCCE, such as the research report, as most political parties are not well resourced to do research on their own.
A case in point is the survey report that most of the political parties have lost touch with the real needs of the voting public and are rather beating about the bush with messages that do not mean anything to the electorate.
Aside from the findings of the survey, participants in an open forum expressed concern over the huge number of rejected ballots, how to curb the incidence and the lack of resources for the NCCE to effectively prosecute its mandate.
It was also established that delays in the appointment of heads for some institutions, such as NCCE and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), had affected their effective functions and operations.
The Daily Graphic shares in the belief of the Ambassador and Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana, Mr William Hanna, that a functioning NCCE engages in civic education and actions that empower citizens to exercise and defend their democratic rights and responsibilities in society.
And that is why we call for an end to the neglect of the NCCE by the government because we believe that adequately resourcing it will effectively deal with issues such as the high incidence of spoilt ballot papers in every election.
We also believe that if the NCCE is well resourced and runs efficiently, it will ensure the active participation of citizens in political debates that are free and issue-based and, therefore, lead to credible elections.