‘It’s wrong for Assembly Members to make electoral promises’

Dr Oduro Osae, a local governance expert, has cautioned that the inability of elected assembly members to fulfill campaign promises may result in their recall by the Electoral Commission (EC).

He explained that assembly members could be recalled by the EC should 30 per cent or more of their electorate file a petition to the Commission for non-performance, it is not right for assembly members to make huge promises because they don’t have the financial capacity or the authority to do so.

“The promises some assembly members make should be scrutinised because they make huge promises,  as an assembly member, your main duty is to facilitate development by communicating the needs of the people to the assembly and ensure the assembly meets those needs.

“But they make huge promises which they can’t fulfill, we have to educate them it’s not right to make huge promises because if they are unable to fulfill them, the electorate can have them recalled by petitioning the Commission,” Dr Osae warned.

He blamed the low turnout for district assembly elections on non-participation of mobilisation institutions in local level elections, involvement of mobilisation institutions like political parties would help increase voter turnout during district assembly elections, saying “participation of political parties in district assembly elections is best way to whip up interest and enthusiasm in district level elections”.

Asked if the day for local level elections can be declared national holiday or added to general election to increase voter turnout, Dr Osae indicated that “although that can be done, that is no guarantee majority of the citizenry will go and vote in district level elections.   

“We can’t declare it a holiday to increase participation because national election is not a holiday, there is no proof the electorate will go and vote on that day, also, to add district level elections to national elections, the 1992 Constitution will have to be amended because it states that there should be an interval of six months between local and national elections,” he maintained.

Voter turnout statistics made available to the public by the EC, indicated that since 1994, voter turnout in the district assembly elections has persistently declined, a phenomenon some people have attributed to the lack of interest by the citizenry in assembly elections. -adomonline.com   

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