|Alhassan M. Awal|
CHOGGU, SAGNARIGU –GHANA’S District Assembly (DA) elections often held in every four years, has suffered another major setback following a decision by the country’s electoral body, Electoral Commission– to postpone the 2014 elections from October to January 2015, Civil Society Organisation Platform on Good Governance in the Northern Region has revealed.
“During the last elections held in 2010, the Electoral Commission postponed 8 out of 10 regions election dates five times before the execution of the elections in different months for five months which ended in February 2011”, Coordinator of the Platform Mohammed Alhassan Awal recalled at a press conference in Sagnarigu in the Sagnarigu District in the Northern Region of Ghana.
District Assembly elections have been held six consecutive times since December 6th 1988/89, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. “It is however worrisome”, according to the Platform, “to observe the continuous dwindling voter turn-up in District Assembly elections which was created to better enrich the bottom-up decentralized system of governance.”
Mr. Awal noted that, the Electoral Commission should have learnt its lessons from the challenges in 2010 district level elections especially with regards to the continuous change in dates.
“Unfortunately, this trend has trickled down to 2014 where, as at October, 2014, the election date has been postponed three times (October to December and now January), with possibilities of further delays as no official communication for these postponements has been provided.
“We (referring to the Platform) have evidence to believe that the EC has plans to combine the local level elections with the referendum on Constitutional Review, and we believe this has contributed to the delay in the conduct of the election”, he emphasised.
According to Mr. Awal, who is also the Executive Director of Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), Ghanaians have full rights to timely information in order to make informed decisions that will enrich their lives as individuals, society and the country as a whole.
He demanded that, the Electoral Commission, as a matter of urgency must take a clear stand and publicly communicate the actual date for the district level elections as well as the time table for the whole electioneering process.
The Coordinator of the Civil Society Organisation Platform on Good Governance in the Northern Region, also urged government to immediately release resources to the Electoral Commission for the conduct of the local elections.
|Christian Owusu Parry|
Meanwhile, Director of Public Relations at the Electoral Commission Christian Owusu Parry told Savannahnews, that the Commission is yet to announce an official date for the District Assembly Elections, but hinted that, the elections will be held early next year.
Accordingly, he refuted claims by CSOs that, the elections have been postponed severally, adding that, “I don’t recall that we put out a date and we have postponed. We haven’t put out any date yet”, Mr. Parry noted.
Mr. Parry also indicated that, the Commission’s concentration so far has been on the preparation towards the District Assembly Elections and further refuted claims that, the Commission intends to combine the election with the referendum on the Constitution Review. “We’ve not heard anything from the Constitution Review Committee to suggest that we’ve to combine the elections with the referendum”, he said.