Some 1,000 election-day observers are to be deployed by the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) to monitor the District Level Election and National Referendum scheduled to take place on December 17.
The observers, who would be deployed across randomly selected polling stations across the country, are expected to monitor the election process and contribute towards enhancing transparency of the elections.
According to the Graphiconline.com, the Acting Chairperson of CODEO, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, made this known at the launch of its 2019 Election Support Interventions and two-day workshop for civic educators in the Greater Accra Region on Tuesday.
According to him, as part of activities scheduled towards ensuring a credible and transparent election process, CODEO has engaged 260 civic, voter, peace educators from each district to undertake community-level engagements with citizens and to explain the essence of the upcoming electoral exercises.
“CODEO recognises the limited awareness about these elections and hope to contribute to enhanced citizen’s understanding on the elections through a variety of mediums including media campaigns and community-level civic/voter engagement.
“As a non-partisan and neutral observation group, I wish to emphatically state that CODEO has no position on the referendum question. CODEO’s sole objective for civic education activities in the elections will be to boost general voter understanding of issues as well as participation in the elections,” Sheikh Shaibu said.
On December 17, 2019, Ghanaians will vote in a referendum aimed at amending Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow for the election of MMDCEs.
Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched provision, states that “Subject to the provisions of this Article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character; and sponsor candidates for election to any public office other than the district assemblies or lower local government units”
On the same day of the referendum, there will be the election of members of the district assemblies and unit committees.
Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Ms Josephine Nkrumah, bemoaned the level of apathy during district-level elections.
“This exercise of district level elections, characteristically, has recorded low voter turnout over the years. And sometimes, despite our best efforts, we haven’t seen the kind of participation and interest that we’ll like to see from citizens.
“It beats my mind because I think this is the most important election for us because that it is the point where every citizen can participate in decision making. It is the point where we can interact with unit committee members, assembly members and actually champion developmental agenda at the district level. Sadly, we don’t see civic interest there,” she bemoaned.
“We are more interested in the general elections, parliamentary and presidential elections. That is important; but the one that touches your everyday life, the things that make your life more comfortable, those are the things that should concern us more,” she added.
Ms Nkrumah therefore urged the civic educators to work beyond the December 17 election and push to deepen democracy to make it more meaningful to Ghanaians.
The Director-Democracy, Rights and Governance Office, USAID-Ghana, Ms Audra Lykos, expressed optimism that the referendum would deepen Ghana’s democratic processes.
“Whatever the outcome, citizen participation in the process clearly demonstrates the determination of Ghanaians to further strengthen Ghana’s democracy. This is an exciting opportunity for Ghanaians to make history and thus the United States encourages all citizens to participate fully in this process,” she said.