The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in Ghana has proposed a review of the District Assembly Elections Act in order to address the issue of low voter turnout during local elections. The NCCE believes that by allowing for “decent partisanship” in the district assemblies, citizens will be more enthusiastic about participating in local governance, which in turn will improve local governance overall.
The Director of Operations, Mr. Samuel Asare Akuamoah, has emphasized the importance of citizen participation in local elections and urged Ghanaians to avoid polarizing the public with misguided statements. This call to action comes during the Constitution Week celebration in Ghana, with the theme of “30 years of consolidating constitutional democracy; Building national cohesion through civic education and participation in local governance.”
For the most part, the NCCE’s proposal is centered around the belief that if people are more invested in their local governance, they will be more likely to engage with it. Allowing for “decent partisanship” in the district assemblies would allow citizens to identify with a political party and be more motivated to vote and participate in local government. This in turn would lead to better accountability and transparency from local government officials.
The proposed changes to the District Assembly Elections Act were initially supposed to be put to a national referendum in 2019, but were cancelled due to the lack of a “durable national consensus.” However, the NCCE is continuing to push for change, and is encouraging Ghanaians to actively participate in district level elections when the time comes.
In a nutshell, the NCCE’s proposal to review the District Assembly Elections Act is an attempt to improve local governance in Ghana by increasing citizen participation in local elections. The hope is that by allowing for “decent partisanship,” citizens will be more invested in their local government and be more likely to engage with it. Ultimately, this will lead to better accountability and transparency from local officials, improving local governance overall.