|Bruce Ayisi, EC Director|
COME Tuesday March 3rd, 2015, a total of two thousand and eighteen (2018) candidates who would be contesting for the much awaited 2014 District Level Election in the Northern Region would have their pictures displayed on ballot papers of the Electoral Commission of Ghana beckoning Ghanaian voters to elect them.
Surprisingly, statistics available to Savannahnews indicate that, of the 2,018 candidates who would be contesting in 641 different Electoral Areas in the region, only 91 are females while the rest are males. This figure shows a sharp decline of the number of women contesting for the election as against a total of 137 females who contested in the same election in 2010.
Also, four thousand, one hundred and fifty-six (4,156) candidates across the entire region would be standing for the Unit Committee Election. “Of this figure, 3,892 are males while 264 are females”, said Mr. Bruce Ayisi, Northern Regional Director, Electoral Commission.
According to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, the population of the Northern Region stood at 2,479,461 representing about 10 percent of Ghana’s population. Of this figure, the male population was 1,229,887 whereas that of women was 1,249,574. This showed that the population of women in the region exceeded that of men by 19,687.
Sadly, a lot of women in the region are being underrepresented. In a lot of discussions at the family, community and district levels, the voices of women are lost. As a result, development initiatives at the local level are so biased because women are not involved in the planning stages to capture their concerns or needs.
Civil Society Organisation Platform on Good Governance is a network of civil society groups with common interest in monitoring the upcoming district level election in the Northern Region.
Coordinator of the Platform Alhassan Mohammed Awal, told Savannahnews, that the group was not happy with the low number of women contesting for positions in the Assembly Member and Unit Committee election. He however was excited that the quality of candidates was better compared to those who contested in the 2010 election.
Mr. Awal also said the Platform was not satisfied with the way and manner the Electoral Commission (EC) went about with the mounting of campaign platforms for candidates to campaign in their electoral areas.
“While the EC was expecting candidates to go round and inform citizens of their intention to mount campaign platforms for them, candidates were also expecting the EC to do that. This has not helped in whipping up the expected enthusiasm among voters and I think the EC officials can do better next time by doing the announcement themselves”, he observed.
District Assembly elections have been held six consecutive times since December 6th 1988/89, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ayisi has told this reporter that the EC has already dispatched all materials needed to conduct the election to all districts across the region. He implored candidates and electorate to comport themselves on the day of voting in order to create a smooth atmosphere for a free, fair and transparent election.