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District assembly polls and Farmers Day

BY: Kobby Asmah
District assembly polls and Farmers Day

Since 1988, the District Assembly concept has been key in shaping the country’s democracy and governance processes.

Established under PNDC Law 207 in 1988 and strengthened by the Local Government Act 1993 (Act462), the country could not have made the current strides in its democratic journey without the positive contribution of the District Assembly (DA) concept.

I do recall the enthusiasm with which many Ghanaians embraced the concept when it was introduced in our body politic with the key objective to ensure that governance is placed at the doorstep of the ordinary Ghanaian.

The sacrifices and spirited commitment of assembly members to help shape the development direction of the country cannot be downplayed.

Those were the days when candidates seeking to become assembly members mounted common platforms to campaign to be elected.

Elected assembly members were also seen busily engaged in community development programmes ranging from communal labour, clean-up campaigns and mobilising members of the community for development projects.

But over the period, this enthusiasm and commitment seems to be waning, impacting negatively on efforts to consolidate, as well as intensify any gains made.

Inactiveness

What really has changed? These days you hardly find assembly members and unit committee members perform all these tasks.

As a nation, we must be concerned about the waning interest and its adverse implications for political inclusion. We therefore need to find quick steps to reverse the trend.

This is because the elections of the District Assembly and the Unit Committee members form the central core of the country’s decentralisation process by way of helping to exercise political and administrative authority in the district, provide guidance, give direction to, and supervise the other administrative authorities in the district.

With barely nine days to go to the district level and local elections, Ghanaians will once again have the opportunity to elect their unit committee and assembly members across the country.

It will be recalled that the whole nation was all geared up for the historic conduct of three elections to elect District Assembly Members, Unit Committee Members and take a decision in a Referendum on Sunday, December 17, 2019.

But for lack of broad and popular concensus, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had to suspend the referendum for further consultations,thus paving the way for the elections of the District Assembly Members and Unit Committee Members across the polling stations nationwide.

Whip up interest

Nonetheless, it is clear the prominent issues for discussions are not the district assembly or the unit committee elections and what it means for the holistic development of the country.

This is where the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) must roll up their sleeves and collaborate to whip up interest in the whole national exercise.

Having finished with the limited registration and voter exhibition, it is time for the EC and the NCCE to educate the public on the pending national elections, mount platforms for the qualified candidates to campaign for votes and do everything possible to ensure the success of the exercise.

Farmers Day

Over the last week, many things have also happened.

We just celebrated Farmers Day on which the nation honoured our illustrious and hardworking farmers.

Our farmers deserve all the honour as their contribution to national development cannot be discounted.

But after the pomp and ceremony, it is time to evaluate the national exercise and find out whether it could be
done better.

I am aware many smallholder farmers are complaining for lack of inclusion.

They believe the awards are given to rich absentee farmers at the expense of the smallholder ever-present farmers.

I believe a proper evaluation of the whole exercise will help the nation chart a better way forward to make the national event more appealing.