Inauguration of MMDAs: Govt to appoint more women, PWDs
The government is determined to ensure that a significant number of women and people living with disabilities (PWDs) are appointed to serve in the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, has said.
Consequently, he said the majority of the 30 per cent of government appointees to the 259 MMDAs that would be inaugurated on Monday, February 12, 2024, would be women and PWDs.
Mr Botwe, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic ahead of the nationwide inauguration of the MMDAs, said the President had taken on board the calls to ensure that more women and PWDs were appointed to serve this year.
“The President is determined that this year, we will have a higher number of female representation and recognition will also be given to people with disabilities to the assemblies than ever before,” he said.
The upcoming inauguration of the MMDAs follows the successful District Level Elections in December last year that elected new assembly and unit committee members to serve in the various assemblies for the next four years.
Mr Botwe said the inauguration would take place in 259 assemblies out of the 261 where the elections took place last year, except Nkoranza North and South in the Bono East Region which had their elections in 2021 instead of 2019.
As part of the inauguration, he said representatives of the President would deliver his inaugural address and all elected assembly and unit committee members across the 259 MMDAs would be sworn in to officially commence their mandate to ensure the smooth and effective discharge of their duties in their respective electoral areas.
Mr Botwe said, “even though we are yet to discuss the outcome of the District Level Elections, especially with regard to the turn-out, we are determined not to wait till the next four years to sustain such interest and discussion, and that in the next few weeks, especially after the inauguration, we are going to have discussions at the national, regional and district levels”.
He said it was imperative to sustain interest in local governance as it remained the bedrock of the country’s democracy which ensured that government was brought closer to the people through the district assembly concept.
“Emphasis is also given to the Local Government Act, 2016 (Act 936) which enjoins assembly members to interact with all stakeholders within their jurisdiction before they go for assembly meetings and also report back to them.
When this system is well oiled, this whole business of people thinking that the concept is not working will change,” he stated.
The District Level Elections once again brought to the fore the issue of dwindling participation of voters in the local elections and low representation of women in local governance in the country, which revealed that 95.9 per cent of the 6,243 persons elected as assembly members were males, while females constituted 4.1 per cent.
The percentage of elected women assembly members is an increase of 0.3 per cent compared to the 3.8 per cent in the previous election (2019).
Comparatively, the 259 women who won the elections constituted 25 per cent of the total female applicants who stood at 1,049.
The figures also showed that 73 persons with disability (PWDs), comprising 55 males and 18 females, won the elections.
In terms of the unit committee elections, 22,646 out of the 42,094 male applicants won, representing 87.2 per cent of the total persons elected.
Relatedly, 3,335 out of the 5,666 female applicants for the unit committee elections won, representing 12.8 per cent of the total elected members.
For PWDs, 67 candidates, made up of 38 males and 29 females, were elected as unit committee members.
The 2023 District Level Elections recorded yet another low turnout of 35 per cent, two percentage points down from the 37 per cent in the previous election (2019).
The Electoral Commission statistics revealed that many of the peri-urban regions recorded turnout rates above 50 per cent, while the urban regions recorded low voter participation.
The Greater Accra and Ashanti regions recorded the lowest turnouts of 18 per cent and 33.4 per cent respectively.