69.7 per cent of respondents voted in favour of an increase in the quota of women appointed into the District Assemblies from the current 50 per cent to 60 per cent.
A survey conducted by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to assess the effectiveness of District Assemblies has revealed that the participation of women in the process is still a key challenge.
According to the survey, 69.7 per cent of respondents voted in favour of an increase in the quota of women appointed into the District Assemblies from the current 50 per cent to 60 per cent.
In 1998, government directed that 30 per cent of the appointed membership of the District Assemblies should be reserved for women and further increased the female appointed membership to 50 per cent in 2002.
The survey was to assess the effectiveness and partisan neutrality of the District Assembly; assess general public’s awareness of the roles, functions of the District Assemblies; assess public perception of the role of chiefs and Traditional Authorities in the work of the District Assembly; and determine public views on the participation of women in the district Assembly’s activities.
It is also to ascertain the knowledge of the public about their role in ensuring accountability and probity of the District Assembly; find ways of strengthening citizen’s participation in the developmental planning and budgeting processes of the District Assembly, as well as find ways to improve the work of the District Assembly.
In all, about 3,000 respondents were sampled based on their financial, time and other resources constraints from 72 districts out of 216 sampling frame in all the 10 regions.
On the election of Metropolitan, Municipal andDistrict Chief Executives (MMDCEs), 25.3 per cent of respondents agreed that electing MMDCEs is the surest way of improving on the effectiveness of the district assembly’s work.
About 19.5 per cent also believed that by eschewing corruption, the district assemblies would enhance the effectiveness of their work.
Respondents also called for transparency in the disbursement and distribution of the Common Fund to further enhance effectiveness in the assemblies.
Launching the survey, Alhaji Collins Dauda, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, admitted that democracy and decentralization has come to stay and stressed the need to give the district assemblies the necessary support and logistics to function well.
He said the district assembly elections will take place on September 1, and urged the public to go out in their numbers to elect their representatives and help strengthen democracy at the grassroots.
“District Assemblies are established to give the true meaning to Ghana’s democracy,” he said, and commended the NCCE for their efforts to increase awareness of local governance among the populace.
Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, Lecturer, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), reiterated the need to look at cultural barriers prohibiting women from availing themselves for local governance elections and tackle the issue from there.
He said the solution does not lie in increasing the quota of women representation because if that is done and still the women are not coming forward for elections the problem will still be there.
He stressed the need for men to accept women participation in local governance by not contesting them.
Prof Ahwoi also called for a comprehensive survey on local governance to ascertain what actually pertains on the ground.
Mr Kyei Baffour, former President of National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), reiterated the need to build the capacity of women so that when they are elected they would be able to deliver and function well.
He said he had a problem with the way gender advocates are going about their campaign of affirmative action and urged them to rather raise awareness on the need for people to accept the fact that women participation in the local governance is vital and needed to be encouraged.