Report on promoting policy-issue debate at constituency level launched

A report on proceedings on ‘Election 2016: Promoting Policy-Issue Debate at the Constituency Level’, geared towards streamlining campaign messages in the 2016 elections has been launched in Accra.

It also focuses on important policy issues that impacted on the lives of the constituents, particularly vulnerable and marginalised groups on debate platforms held across 43 selected constituencies throughout the country, and contributed to debates which offered candidates opportunity to interact with and share vision and programmes with electorate.

The report formed part of efforts to promote issue-based election campaign and to ensure interaction between aspirants and prospective voters ahead of the 2016 elections, and emphasised the elections was generally credible and peaceful by election watchers.

The Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana), with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), embarked on the project to increase citizens’ participation, particularly marginalised groups in electoral processes, promote post-election accountability and responsiveness between them and elected officials in between elections.

The project report was released for some Members of Parliament (MPs), who participated in debate platforms and are currently preparing for political party primaries for 2020 parliamentary, to give them access to campaign promises that contributed to their success and to reflect on how they performed and what is outstanding.

It was also released for constituents, the public and media, to use information from platforms to demand accountability, probity and transparency from elected officials going into 2020 elections.

Launching the project, Joseph Osei Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, noted that there was disconnection between what voters expected from their Members of Parliament (MPs) and responsibilities the law gave to MPs.

He explained that “the challenge can be solved when Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) are elected, hence, the need for an open discussion in that regard”, and recounted during an exercise conducted by centre, it was observed 99 per cent of issues discussed at debates were matters relating to executive responsibility.

Dr Franklin Oduro, the Deputy Executive Director at CDD-Ghana, underscored the need for stakeholders to intensify campaign on roles of MPs since the project served as an opportunity for candidates at constituency level, to present messages to constituents for them to ask questions.

Mathias Hounkpe, the Political Governance Programme Manager at OSIWA, intimated that electoral accountability, probity and transparency was important for voters to know what they were voting for and cautioned candidates on promises during campaigns to deliver them. -GNA

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