Make district assembly elections partisan

The National Commis­sion for Civic Educa­tion (NCCE) has been spearheading the celebration of Constitution Week since its introduction in 2001.

The Commission has since been hammering at various forums that the celebration seeks to make the 1992 Con­stitution a living document embossed on the minds and hearts of Ghanaians for the deepening of democracy and good governance.

It then urges all Ghanaians to defend the 1992 Constitu­tion to prevent any form of destabilisation of the political establishment.

For instance, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in May 2018, the NCCE ex­pressed the belief that in spite of the praise the country had been receiving for continu­ously embracing democratic rule since January 7, 1993, the democracy was still fragile and so there was the need for Ghanaians to constantly to “be on guard against any over­throw or attempted overthrow of government”.

The Commission said it was the responsibility of every Ghanaian not only to defend any attempt to over­throw democratically-elected governments but also guard against any infringement of fundamental human rights of any individual or group of people, especially the vulnera­ble group.

Every year, the NCCE organises events and chooses themes it thinks are relevant for the need to defend the country’s constitution.

This year’s Constitution Week celebration has the theme “30 years of Consol­idating Constitutional De­mocracy: Building National Cohesion through Civic Education and Participation in Local Governance.”

The NCCE has promised to organise series of engage­ments to sensitise the citizenry to the relevance of the 1992 Constitution as a pillar on which the country’s democ­racy hinges and acts that can help consolidate democracy in the country.

Obviously as part of its ac­tivities to make this year’s cel­ebration one of a difference, the NCCE has resurrected the conversation on making the District Assembly Elections partisan.

It has expressed the belief that this would increase voter turnout in the district level elections.

Ordinarily, we would have opposed such a proposal because the district assembly elections are meant to elect community members who have shown commitment to developing their electoral areas and the district at large.

It was expected that such persons would be identified by community members and honoured with their election to formalise their love for their communities.

However, at a point, po­litical parties infiltrated and monitised the system to abuse it and defeat the noble objec­tives associated with it.

Today, we support the NCCE proposal because it is an open secret that members of the District Assemblies have been elected on partisan lines and there is no way that trend can be killed.

Thus, it must be formalised for party members and sup­porters to show interest simi­lar to that in both parliamenta­ry and presidential elections.

The political establish­ment must have the political courage to do this because the current situation that the district level elections are non-partisan is just on paper because in practical terms they are partisan and the political leaders know this.

This current nature of district assembly elections is a destablisation of the the Constitution in disguise and the only way to legitimise it is to reform the relevant articles in the Constitution and the Local Government Act and this must not be delayed.

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