07.01.2008 Politics

Akufo-Addo calls for greater attention for decentralisation

By The Statesman
Akufo-Addo calls for greater attention for decentralisation
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There is no doubt that December's general election this year is crucial for the governing New Patriotic Party and other opposition political parties in the country.

Against this background, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, NPP presidential candidate for 2008, has tasked the Electoral Commission to put in place adequate mechanisms to ensure that the results of this year's national election would be accepted by all and sundry, including the political parties.

He pointed out that the electoral processes leading to the election must be free and fair so that "the loser and the winner would have no cause to complain."

According to the NPP presidential candidate, the country's electoral system since the Fourth Republic keeps on improving every electoral year and expressed the hope EC has the capacity to conduct free and fair and transparent election in December.

Nana Akufo-Addo expressed the sentiments when he addressed the Women Leaders Conference last Saturday in Accra under the theme; "Social Action—Working for your Community—Putting Politics into Practice."

The conference was organised by the Democrat Union of Africa, a continental body made of political parties which are leaned towards centre and centre-right ideology.

Nana Akufo-Addo said the country's decision to deepen the culture of good governance left it with no option but to intensify the shift to decentralisation in all aspects of government.

"It is through bringing governance to the people that we can meet our responsibilities to them in their everyday affairs."

He said deepening the culture of participatory democracy called for a critical look at the constitution provision on election and appointment of local authorities under the District Assembly framework and that once the institutional platform was put in place, the citizen must be the centre of focus.

"The citizens must then take the initiative and have the determination and courage to speak out, to take action at the grassroots and district define priorities for projects and programmes...

"We must shift our thinking from dependency to enterprise. We must not hope for others to take care of us," Nana Akufo-Addo said.

Dwelling on the conference theme, he said to overlook the many critical ways in which women specially were holding up in the world, was to ignore the central place of over 50 percent of the population.

Nana Akufo-Addo said women must take their place at the helm of affairs because that constituted the basis of social transformation.

He said the NPP government in the last seven years had undertaken unprecedented social measures such as the National Health Insurance Scheme and the free compulsory basic education programme that clearly demonstrated the practicality of politics.

Providing insight into the conference, Peter Mac-Manu, NPP Chairman who is also Chairman of DUA, said it offered the platform to unite all centre and centre-right political parties in Africa.

He said liberal democracy, which is the hallmark of centre rightists, had proved itself all over the world and that NPP was convinced it was the only system of government that would spearhead the African renewal.

Mr Mac-Manu said the NPP believed it was critical to give women hope, raise their expectations, and rekindle their enthusiasm to enhance their role in community politics.

"Our party will continue to give women opportunity to reach for the highest levels of elective and appointive offices because our party's constitution enjoins it, our philosophy and ideology mandate it and our own innate nature impels it," he said.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children Affairs, said one way for women to be encouraged in the party would be to allow women to run parliamentary elections at areas where the NPP considered as safe seats.

She said the issue of HIV/AIDS still remained a challenge so there was the need for leaders to use their political leverage and action to get government involved in a more affirmative action on the virus.

Hajia Mahama said in Ghana and in the world, statistics still showed that female HIV/AIDS victim is higher.

By Nana Obeng-Danquah

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