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02.03.2006 General News

Deputy Speaker cautions public


Accra, March 2, GNA - Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker, on Thursday accused socio-political commentators of "infesting the mind of the public with misinformation and disinformation.

"To the critical observer, it is worrying to listen to people, who ascribe to themselves all manner of titles who sit on radio to incite violence against Government while religiously misinforming the public on social and political issues," he said.

Mr Blay was speaking at a three-day workshop on civic education for 20 second cycle educational institutions in the Southern Sector organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in collaboration with the Centre for Civic Education in the United States of America.

The Deputy Speaker attributed the problem to the current democratic dispensation, which according to him, had brought in its wake an era of freedom unparalleled in the annals of the country's history. The workshop is aimed at promoting and championing civic education studies and educating the youth to understand the fundamental values and principles of constitutional democracy.

Other participants are Social Studies Teachers, Patrons of Civic Education Clubs, Civic Education Activists and staff of the NCCE. The freedom, he said, was demonstrated through citizens' interest and participation in political, social and economic discourse on radio and television.

The Deputy Speaker said the freedom had provided an avenue for ventilation of public grievances, which was an essential ingredient for building a sustainable democracy.

Speaking on the theme; "Consolidating Democracy through Citizens' Participation," Mr Blay urged teachers and civic educationist to engage the youth in critical analysis of national issues, as they were capable of contributing positively to fashioning policies. "As a matter of fact, the youth constitute the conscience of the nation. Their zeal and enthusiasm are infectious. They constitute the source of the working force that the nation can rely on for its development."

Mr Blay commended the NCCE and Centre for Civic Education for introducing the "Project Citizen" concept in Ghana.

"The idea of engaging the youth and making them conscious of their civic responsibilities and rights, appreciating what constitutes good and bad governance, and inculcating patriotism, morality, love for work, selflessness and pride in their heritage is a national task that we all should set our minds on."

Mr Douglas Philips, Senior Consultant, Centre for Civic Education in USA, said "Project Ghana" would equip the participants with knowledge to direct the youth on how to monitor and influence public policy and appreciate democratic values, principles, tolerance, respect for rule of law and good citizenship.

He said it was a portfolio-based civic education curriculum programme for students and youth that sought to promote competent and responsible participation in local and national government. Mr Laary Bimi, NCCE Chairman, noted that issues of responsiveness did not rest with the NCCE, whose sole role was to raise the awareness of Ghanaians on their civic rights and duties. He emphasised that democracy was the best form of governance for the country and all Ghanaians must ensure that constitutionalism was defended at all times.

The NCCE Chairman urged political parties, civil society groups and other institutions to inculcate civic awareness programmes and policies in their internal educational activities. As a demonstration of patriotism, Mr Bimi sang "Yen Ara Ye Asesi Ni," by musicologist Dr Ephraim Amu in Mampruli language to the surprise and admiration of the audience.

He appealed to Parliament to consider recognising the song which could be rendered in any Ghanaian language as the Official National Anthem, "as it infects both the listener and singer with a sense of nationalism." 02 March 06