Briefing the Media after a durbar held in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region, the Regional Director of the Commission, Mr Pilate Apaabey Baba, said as part of activities to rekindle community participation in the local governance units at the grassroots and to enhance public awareness on the concept of the local government system, the Commission with support from the European Union was embarking upon an educational programme on the structures, roles , functions and the duties of the unit committee and assembly members and the inter-relationships that exist between them.
“This if not addressed now, will undermine the purpose of the decentralization process, hence the need for the Commission to embark upon the programme by carrying out Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and Community Durbars in some selected districts across the Region to achieve that purpose,” he stressed.
He explained that the FGD would engage 40 participants drawn from the unit committee and assembly members, youth groups, faith based organizations (FBO), women’s groups, Community Based Organisation(CBO’s) among others to discuss the key challenges confronting district assembly and unit committee members in the performance of their work; factors that contribute to low voter turnout at District Level Elections (DLE);and the strategies to strengthen and ensure community participation in the work of the unit committee and assembly members.
The community durbars would involve the general public, assembly members, unit committee members, traditional authorities, youth and women groups, faith based organisations, identifiable groups including women and People With Disability (PWD) groups, and District Oversight Committees of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism APRM to create the opportunity for them to constantly meet and interact with their local government representatives on developmental issues.
“The community durbars also seek to educate the citizenry on the inter-relationship that exist between the unit committee and assembly members. The community durbars will empower unit committees to enable them participate in the prioritization, implementation and monitoring of government programmes and projects,” the Regional Director stressed.
Ms Mary Nyamekye Amoah, Assistant Director of the Commission, urged community members as well as unit committee members to attend NCCE programmes which were often open to everyone in a town or community where they can express their opinions, present ideas and ask questions of duty bearers or service providers, elected officials and political candidates.
She said to further entrench the country’s democratic ethos, the Commission had outlined a number of programmes of activities for the first quarter of 2016, which include community engagements to enhance community members’ participation in the work of the municipal /district assemblies and unit committees and E-quiz/Constitution Game Board Competition among Senior High Schools to build the capacity of students to learn the Constitution.
The Commission, she noted, would also organize community engagements on child marriage to reduce the practice and radio discussions on the elections and topical issues including healthy debates and discussions devoid of insults, political tolerance, peace building, and conflict management among others.