EC Fixes Date For District Level Elections
The Electoral Commission (EC) has fixed Tuesday, December 28 as the tentative date for holding the District Level election. "The EC has completed the limited voter registration process, while other in-house preparations towards the district level elections are in progress and Parliament has already acted on part of the required legislation," Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman, said in Accra on Wednesday. "The Commission is hopeful Parliament will approve the remainder of the legislation to enable us to conduct the elections under the new arrangements. In view of these positive developments the Commission intends to conduct the elections around December 28," he said. The Chairman mentioned some of the changes laid before Parliament as re-demarcation and alignment of electoral areas, increase of the number of electoral areas from about 5,000 to 6,000, reduction of the number of unit committees from about 15,000 to 6,000 and reduction in the membership of unit committee from 225,000 to 30,000 elected persons. Dr Afari-Gyan, who was speaking at the national launch of awareness programme for 2010 District Level Elections (DLE), explained that previously, each unit committee had 15 members of which 10 were directly elected and five nominated by the government. Under the proposed arrangement before Parliament, each unit committee will consist of five elected members and "there will be no appointed members," the EC Chairman said. The EC Chairman was flanked by Mr Laari Bimi, Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education, who chaired the launch, Mr David Adeenze-Kanga, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Finance and Administration, Mr Joseph Yieleh-Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Mr Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations. Dr Afari-Gyan said the proposed changes would make the district level elections more manageable and efficient adding that printing of 15,000 different slates of candidates had now reduced to 6,000 slates. "The changes would also amount to significant reduction in the cost of the elections...With only five persons to be elected in each electoral area, the unit committee elections are likely to become more competitive. "Hopefully greater competitiveness might engender greater participation of citizens and a higher turnout," Dr Afari-Gyan said. The EC Chairman identified other significant changes in the new legislation as liberalization of the method of mounting campaign platforms. "Previously only EC was mandated to mount a platform for the candidates, but under the proposed law, a candidate is allowed to mount his or her own platform, or an organization, other than a political party, can make resources available to the EC for purposes of mounting a platform for the common use of all the affected candidates," he stated. Speaking on "Transitional Arrangements for District Assemblies, Improving Citizen's Participation in the DLE," Mr Yieleh-Chireh said in accordance with the District Assembly Elections (DAE) Act 1994, elections to a District Assembly shall be held every four years except that District Assembly elections shall be held at least six months apart from parliamentary elections. He said due to the administrative challenges, the Ministry would issue a directive to all district assemblies on the conduct of managerial activities after the dissolution of the assemblies. Mr Yieleh-Chireh refuted suggestions that the postponement of elections would create a power vacuum. He said by the nature of the composition of the assembly the day-to-day administration of the district would be conducted by the District Chief Executives, appointed members and coordinating officers. Mr Bimi appealed to the media to join the campaign and public awareness creation on the District Level Elections, describing it as the strength and capacity building block for the democratic development. He said the district assemblies served as the power base of democratic dispensation. They were the grass root for democracy and, therefore, needed the involvement of all stakeholders, especially the media, to project them, he said. "It's now time to do away with NDC and NPP politicking on the front pages of our papers and on our airwaves; it's now time to focus on promoting grass root democracy," Mr Bimi said.
Source: Ghana News Agency