29.04.2005 Politics

Help do away with "Election Democracy" - NCCE

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Akosombo, April 29, GNA - The Eastern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civil Education (NCCE), Mr Emmanuel Quaye-Sowah, has described as "election democracy", the current political trend whereby the citizens only take active part in the general elections but refuse to participate in district assembly activities.

He said there was the need to conscientize the electorate to actively participate at all levels of elections and decision making at all times, "but not to wait until general elections before they participate."

Mr Quaye-Sowah was speaking at a forum organized by the NCCE and the Volta River Authority (VRA) at Akosombo on Thursday to mark the fifth "Constitutional Week" under the theme: "Reducing Poverty Through Citizens' Participation in Local Governance".

He noted that the apathy among the citizens did not augur well in the country's quest to involve the citizens at the grassroots to participate actively in the good governance and fight against poverty thereby creating a gap between the Assemblies and the people. Mr Quaye-Sowah, however, attributed the low participation in the district assemblies' activities to lack of motivation, resources constrains and ignorance among others.

He said there was the need to bridge the gap of participation between the general and the local level elections in a bid to help fight and reduce poverty in the country.

The Asuogyaman District Chief Executive, Dr Godfred Kofi Siaw, asked the Assembly members and Unit Committees to identify poverty conditions in their communities and possible solutions for the attention of the Assembly.

He observed that the gap between the assemblies and the people could be attributed to many assembly members not reporting deliberations of the assembly back to the communities.

A retired VRA employee, Mr John Osei, who chaired the forum, attributed the gap between the assemblies and the people to apathy on the part of the people.

Mrs Abla Fiadjoe, the Community Relations Manager of VRA, blamed some cultural practices against women as the retarding factor affecting their participation in governance.

She said the time had come for people, who have "caged" their ideas to bring them out in the country's quest to fight poverty in which women formed the majority.

The Asuogyaman District Director of NCCE, Mr Simon Ogah, explained that the celebration of the Constitutional Week should remind Ghanaians of their political past and the need for them to uphold the democratic dispensation at all times for their own betterment.

Some of the participants suggested that the NCCE in collaboration with the VRA and the Asuogyaman District should involve the people regularly in local governance so as to help reduce poverty in the district.

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