05.05.2005 Crime & Punishment

Judge asks citizenry to ensure accountability of the elected

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Koforidua, May 5, GNA - The Eastern Regional Supervising High Court Judge, Mr Justice Francis Korbieh, has stated that the periodic elections being held for the presidency, parliament and district assemblies were enough to propel the development of the country forward. According to him, the elections were only part of the requirements for enhancing the establishment of a prosperous, free and just society in the country.

"These elections and the resultant governments we get out of them create the right atmosphere for development and by implication, the reduction or alleviation of poverty", he added.

Mr Justice Korbieh was speaking on the topic: "Enhancing citizens' participation in local governance for poverty reduction", at a public forum organized at Koforidua on Wednesday as part of the celebration of the 5th Constitution Week by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE).

He asked the citizenry, especially women, not only to participate actively in the elections, but should also ensure the accountability of the elected to engender confidence in local governance for poverty reduction.

Mr Justice Korbieh, however, reminded the people that the right to participate in elections was only one side of the political coin, while the other was the responsibility to pay their taxes, rates and licences for revenue to fund projects that seek to reduce poverty. He stressed that the active participation in the decision making process by voting during elections would ensure that the right persons were put into government and also make them accountable to the people.

Mr Justice Korbieh commended the NCCE for its on-going exercise to educate the public on the need to participate in local governance and urged it to emphasise on the participation of women in the system to champion their interests.

On the women's participation in local elections, he noted that if they were properly educated on the need for their participation, more of them would be willing to brave it and stand for elections. He noted that since poverty was the major problem facing the people, the government must make it its responsibility to eradicate it and asked the district assemblies to put the revenue from local taxes into poverty reduction projects to maintain the confidence of the people to continue to pay.

The Eastern Regional Director of the NCCE, Mr Emmanuel Quaye-Sowah, announced that the NCCE would research into the issue of large rejection ballot in the December 2004 elections in due course in order to come with the appropriate public education content to curb the situation. He called for public support in the Commission's mission to raise a politically active citizenry to advance the country's nascent democratic dispensation.

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