Mfantseman - The Mfantseman District Chief Executive Mr Robert Quainoo-Arthur has advised candidates of the forthcoming district level and unit committee elections to refrain from giving highfalutin promises in their campaigns.
Speaking at a UNDP and NCCE durbar on gender streamlining on district assembly elections, Mr Quainoo-Arthur said it is an offense to deceive the populace under the Local Government Act 462, which establishes the district assembly concept.
He said unlike Members of Parliament, who were allocated some share of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund to fund some projects in their constituencies, district assembly members did not have such privileges.
Mr Quainoo-Arthur cautioned them against the use of gifts to influence the electorate, since it could weaken their campaign strategy.
He said: “You will be tempted to believe that the gifts will do the trick and relax in your effort to convince the electorate on what you are capable of doing when elected.”
The Deputy Chairperson of the NCCE Madam Augustina Akosua Akomanyi said that the collaboration between UNDP and the Commission in the campaign to get more women into the assemblies was in fulfilment of the recommendations of the African Peer Review Mechanism, which urged the government to involve more women in local governance.
Mrs Akomanyi said women could fight for better planning of functional development projects when they got to the assembly, because they use them most.She cautioned, however, that the Commission’s campaign for women was not meant to “push just any woman to the assemblies”.
She commended the district for presenting 26 women, the highest in the country, to contest the election.
Mr Frank Adobah, Central Regional Director of the Commission, urged women to promote accountability in their areas when elected, because that was the surest way of removing ignorance, suspicion, rumour mongering and agitation.
Miss Mary Margaret Sackey, Mfantseman District Director, NCCE, appealed to the assemblies to provide the confidence that would make unit committees functional since they form the bedrocks of the assembly concept.
The Gomoa District Electoral Officer Mr Bertino Stephens has cautioned the electorate against the making of baseless accusations against candidates vying for membership of the district assemblies during the platform mounting exercise.
He said the commission would not protect any person who made false and unsubstantiated allegations against candidates. Mr Stephens said it was an offence to prevent an aspiring candidate from presenting his or her manifesto to the public.
He said disrupting the platform mounting exercise and defacing of candidate’s posters, were electoral offence, which could land the offender in jail.
He was commenting on action taken by some chiefs and some youth of Gomoa Ekwamkrom near Swedru against one of the contestants, Mr Ekow Gibrine whom they alleged did not hail from the town and therefore, was not illegible to contest the election.
According to him, the chiefs had sent a petition to his office requesting him to disqualify Gibrine from contesting.
He said though he made it clear to them that district assembly concept was not a preserve for only people who hailed from a particular area, thugs were mobilised to prevent Gibrine from mounting the platform to present his manifesto by loud drumming and shouting.
Mr Stephens said when the platform was moved to Jukwa, also in the electoral area for the candidate to present his manifesto the thugs moved there to disrupt the programme again but were held in check by the youth of Jukwa.
The Savelugu/Nanton District Chief Executive Mr Alhassan Abubakari Atori has urged aspiring assembly members in the district not to conduct their campaigns on political and chieftaincy lines.
He said development of the communities would suffer if assembly members were elected on political and chieftaincy basis as such a situation had the potential of dividing the members in the House.
Mr Atori was addressing 13 women contestants in the upcoming district assembly and unit committee elections during a one-day capacity building workshop at Savelugu in the Savelugu/Nanton district.
The Ghanaian/Danish Communities Association (GDCA), a non-government organisation, in collaboration with the District Gender Desk Office, organised the workshop for the women from Savelugu/Nanton and Karaga districts to equip them with skills on the elections.
62 men and 14 women are contesting the elections in the Savelugu/Nanton District while 53 men and five women are also seeking election to the Karaga District Assembly.
Mr Atori urged the women to conduct their campaigns with decorum, devoid of insults and backbiting to create a peaceful atmosphere for the elections in the area.
Mr Osman Abdel-Rahman, Executive Secretary of GDCA, said the empowerment of women must go beyond the provision of micro-credit support to increasing their involvement in decision-making.
He said it was for this reason that GDCA had initiated a Community-Based Organisation Empowerment Project to build the capacities of women and youth to be able to demand their rights and participate in decision-making.
He said his organisation would make follow-ups after the elections to ascertain how many women had been elected to the assembly and how they were impacting on their communities with the knowledge and skills that they had acquired at the workshop.