The two referenda proposed to be organized in the country, to herald the creation of an additional 6 more regions and also to initiate the elections of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives MMDCEs are almost at hand.
Yet, with barely two months to the referendum for the new regions creation, much information has not been given out to the citizens especially the three northern Regions of Ghana.
It is against this backdrop that, “NORSAAC”- an empowerment for change organisation working for and with women and young people has organized a day’s forum, at the In-Service Training Center of the Ghana Health Service, to sensitized Civil Society Organisation CSOs on the impending referendum slated to take place on December 27, 2018.
The meeting brought together about 30 key stakeholders drawn from civil Society Organisation CSOs, Traditional Authorities, National Commission for Civic Education, NCCE, National Association of Graduate Teachers NAGRAT, and the Electoral Commission EC among others.
The aim was to deliberate on the crucial role the three northern regions will play, as evidence gathering points for drawing on issues and engaging selected institutions and policy makers at the national level for responses and influence.
Speaking Ghana GBC Online, the Executive Director of NOASAAC Alhassan Mohammed Awal said that, the forum was to afford citizens the opportunity to contribute in deepening the democratic practice in Ghana, as it seeks to generate citizen’s interest and duty bearer’s response on the operations of an entrenched clause in the 1992 constitution.
Mr. Awal noted that since the inception of the 1992 constitution, many Ghanaians have not had any experience of participating in such a democratic exercise.
He indicated that, interest groups may not understand what goes in to the creation of a region and the socio-economic analysis.
He added that if citizens are not given enough education, government and related duty-bearers may take advantage of their uninformed position and flaunt the laws, act adversary or even politicised the processes that must be followed in this important national assignment to have regions created in a democratic manner.
Mr. Awal further explained that, taking into consideration the financial cost of the exercise, it imperative for leaders and institutions to be very circumspect in protecting the national purse by educating the citizenry to cooperate fully in the exercise so as to achieve the desired results.
The Acting Gender and Governance Manager of NORSAAC Yeri Nancy stated that, the project is to strengthen the capacity of 80 CSOs and membership organisations from the 3 regions of the North, plan and engage relevant state and non-state actors towards a popular; citizen-led Referendum exercise in 2019, increase the voice and participation of Ghanaian citizens in the referendum processes and the responsiveness of the relevant state institutions and Commissions to embrace citizens concerns as well as secure the inclusion of women, the youth and minorities in the composition of structures for the referendum exercise.
Ms. Nancy gave the vision as society in which everyone enjoys theirs rights and lives a life of dignity. On the mission, she said that, the organization is to work with communities and community-based structures and like-minded organizations to build the capacity of community members and affected groups to enjoy their rights and live a life of dignity, adding that they operate in the area of Gender and Governance, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, Livelihood and Education.
During a panel discussing, led by The Acting Gender and Governance Manager of NORSAAC, a representative of NAGRAT John Akonzebe was very emphatic that his members were not informed of such crucial national exercise and cautioned that if care was not taken, it could lead to an exercise of futility.
An Electoral Officer from The Electoral Commission EC Adenze Henry Agabil indicated that, as part of their mandate, the EC will open the voter’s register in the affected areas for revision exercise since from 2016 to 2018, some young people might turned 18 years whiles some too might have died.
This he said will enable the EC to update the register for those qualified to take part in the impending referenda.
Story by: GBC’s Emmanuel Akayeti