The Executive Secretary of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) Dr. Prince Hamid Armah says the low participation recorded in the just ended district assembly elections is worrying.
This, he said ought to be remedied by revisiting discussions on the involvement of political parties in the process.
The NaCCA Secretary said this after visiting some polling centers in Kwesimentsim where the turnout for the elections was low.
“I’ve been around more than 15 polling centers here in Kwesimentsim and I’m sad and at the same time deeply worried for our decentralization process.
“It is 3:20pm and in some cases, less than 10 per cent of the people on the voter register had voted. For example, when I visited the two centers at the Woodbridge School at 3:00pm, out of the expected number of over 1600, only 70 had voted.”
Dr. Armah said “this is not the first time we have witnessed this low turnout during assembly elections. Today’s exercise will certainly not be the last and so what it means is that if we do not find a lasting solution to this low turnout, every year the same thing will happen. And so, we must necessarily find a lasting solution to this”.
“And so, it goes back to the whole discussion around political parties taking part in the local level elections.
“I think as a nation, we must put emotions and political arguments aside and begin to reflect on the issue of political party involvement once more, because I have no doubt and can say with all certainty that if political parties had driven this process, we will not have had this level of participation.”
He continued that political parties would have taken charge of the process and used their internal structures and mechanisms to get the numbers to participate and in so doing make it more competitive.
“… to the extent that political parties would have ensured that people with votes far away would have been brought to the centers to vote. They would have created the necessary awareness and provided logistics for people to ensure the process truly reflects what the people want”.
The NaCCA Secretary stated that the low participation could also create a situation where persons elected may not necessarily be people who understand the local assembly concept, and in the end, will not be able to play the role required of them.
“You know the district assembly election is one of the key foundations of our democratic process. We have devolved powers from the central government to the local assemblies and so they have administrative and executive roles to play. When you have people showing little or no interest in participating in the process of electing who takes part in the functions of the assembly, then it becomes a source of worry”.
He further said activities of the district assemblies do not complement the efforts of the national government and so the quality of materials that are needed at the district level need to improve to make this complementary role very efficient.
“So, if the quality needs to improve then there must be high level competition and that can happen with the involvement of the political parties because they will ensure that their representatives are people who can participate in deliberations at the assembly”.
Dr. Prince Armah said he is particularly worried because as part of the policy direction on education, government intends to decentralize education to the local level.
“As we speak now, we have the district education oversight committees which is actually responsible for seeing to the educational activities at the district.
“If we do not get people to get involve in the process of electing competent people and it becomes business as usual, it will have a telling effect on how we want to develop our education service delivery at the local level.”
By Eric Yaw Adjei |3news.com|Ghana