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EC to announce new date for the District Level Elections

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The Electoral Commission (EC) will announce a new date for the District Level Election, Dr Serebour Quaicoe, Director of Electoral Services, has stated.

This has become necessary after the October 3, 2023 date initially set for the election was cancelled.

Dr Serebour, however, insisted that the election would be held by December this year when the four-year term of the current assembly members would have elapsed.

The commission, he added, would soon meet to affirm a proposed new date which was still under wraps.

In addition, the EC would spell out a new timetable for the election by next week, he said.

While awaiting the new date, the Director of Electoral Services said registration and exhibition of the voter register would go ahead in readiness for the main event.

At least 1.5 million eligible Ghanaians who have turned 18 years between 2021 and 2023 are expected to be captured onto the register.

The EC has been challenged with its proposed new Constitutional Instrument (CI) to do away with the guarantor system but it has been asked by Parliament to maintain it.

The guarantor system, according to the EC, did not produce a credible voter register because it allowed for non-Ghanaians to be rolled onto it.

Dr Serebour was contributing to a discussion at a national stakeholders dialogue in Accra yesterday.

As Ghanaians await the new date, civil society organisations are pushing for an increase in women’s and marginalised groups’ participation in an inclusive democracy.

Out of 6,000 assembly members elected at the last election, only 245 women were directly elected.

As a sequel to this, the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD) is leading the charge to raise public awareness and whip up interest in the local-level elections. 

Apathy

The common thread that runs through the various presentations is that local-level election has suffered apathy and low voter turnout over the years.

The 1988/89 voter year remains the highest turnout of 59.3 per cent.

But as years went by, the number kept dwindling, they said.

At the last district level election in 2019, the turnout was as low as 33 per cent.

The election is expected to take place in all 6,272 electoral areas and 38,622 polling stations nationwide.

Section Six of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) (as amended by Act 940) provides that District Level Elections shall be held every four years and the interval between it and the parliamentary elections shall be held at least six months apart.

Reforms, capacity building

The Director for Programmes and Advocacy at CDD-Ghana, Dr Kojo Asante, said that local government elections played a crucial role in promoting citizen participation.

He added that there was overwhelming support to elect district officials but opinions differed as to whether it should be on a partisan or nonpartisan basis.

“Ghana’s democracy needs a boost and credible reforms around the election of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDCEs).

However, elections without comprehensive reforms will only add to the problems,” he stated. 

r Asante, therefore, called for local governance reforms that would address the inclusivity deficit by involving more women and other marginalised groups so that power, governance and decision-making could be more progressively decentralised.

NALAG

The General Secretary of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), Kokro Amankwah, said as a nation, “we have the moral and emotional responsibility to empower women by putting more of them into local government positions.

In that respect, he disclosed that the association in collaboration with the GIZ was in the process of training and developing the capacity of 315 women who had shown interest in competing at various district assemblies. 

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