…district level elections
Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), on Monday urged women to contest in the District Assembly elections to increase female participation in the country’s decision making processes.The District Assemblies Elections are scheduled for December 28, this year.
Dr. Afari-Gyan gave the advice when he addressed 40 women from faith based organizations, at a one-day sensitization workshop in Sunyani. The workshop was organised by the Gender and Disability Unit of the Commission and sponsored by the European Union.
It was aimed at educating the participants who were drawn from the Upper West and Brong-Ahafo regions to assist in educating the general public on the impending elections.
Dr. Afari-Gyan explained that the district level elections were aimed at engendering greater citizen participation and to facilitate decision making process for national development. “The Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies are established to coordinate and manage all government programmes for the benefit of the citizenry”, he said.
The EC chairman explained that as a result of the current reforms made in the country’s electoral process by the Commission, the number of electoral areas had been increased from 5,000 to 6,135 with a drastic reduction in the number of unit committees.
He said candidates were now allowed to mount their own platforms to campaign for votes, adding, all organisations except political parties could assist the EC with resources to mount platforms for candidates.
Mrs. Stella Abrokwa-Ankoh, Unit head of the Gender and Disability, EC, expressed the hope that more women would vote during the elections. She disclosed that women represented 20 per cent of the candidates contesting the elections “and if all the 20 percent are given the mandate it
would increase the number of women in the district assemblies”.
Mrs. Abrokwa-Ankoh emphasized the importance of women’s participation in the district level elections, stating that since they formed the majority of voters it would enable them to increase their participation in politics.
“Active participation of women in the elections will help increase the number of women leaders in the country since their presence in district assemblies is a very key component for democracy to thrive”, she added.
She said increased proportion of elected women in the district assemblies would bring about social and democratic change that would benefit them and their male counterparts. “Women struggle to manage work and family responsibilities at home but have less power when it comes to political decisions that would improve their social lives”, Mrs. Abrokwa-Ankoh stated.
The unit head emphasized that the EC intended to organise training workshops for women contestants on speech presentation and mannerism to help them in their campaign. She explained the unit was established, among others, to encourage and motivate women so that they could overcome the challenges they faced when they enter into politics.
Mrs. Abrokwa-Ankoh advised the general public to stop branding women in active politics as “iron ladies” but rather to encourage them to contribute their quota in nation building. GNA