District Assembly Forums End
The Electoral Commission in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, United States Agency for International Development and Kab Government Consult on Friday held a forum on the theme "Legal and Institutional Framework for District Assembly and Unit Committee Elections" at the GNAT Hall in Accra.
The Greater Accra Regional forum was the last of forums on the same theme held in throughout the country.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan gave basic information on the legal and institutional framework of the district level elections. He said the district assembly is charged with overall development of the district, and is expected to provide infrastructure. The district assembly derives it finance for carrying out development projects from three sources; they raise revenue, they receive revenue from the government and a yearly allocation from the district assemblies common fund.
He said mounting of platforms for candidates is free; the problem often relates to how many platforms are enough to sufficiently introduce the candidates to the electorate and the suitable time for holding them.
He said delays in printing of ballot papers for district assembly elections is because of the huge number of candidates as compared to those of the presidential and parliamentary elections and the inability of candidates to supply their pictures.
He said the overall turn out of the last district election was 33.1%. Out of this the Greater Accra Region recorded the lowest turnout of 16.6%, 44.7% for the three northern regions and 33.4% for the other regions. There was higher turnout rate in the countryside than the cities. He said attributing the low turnout to the non-partisan nature of the district elections is debatable.
Dr. Afari-Gyan said next year, the EC will re-demarcate the constituencies towards the parliamentary elections which will be held in 2004 and also re-demarcate the electoral areas and units before the next district level elections.
An assembly member for Alajo, Mr. Joseph Quaye, appealed to the government to get offices for the assemblyman and cars to make them mobile.
Mr. Kwasi Afriyie Badu, CEO of KAB Government Consult said the suggestions by the participants in all the regions would be forwarded to the president.