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Leave No One Behind In The 2023 DLEs: The Affirmative Action Is Critical – CSOs

Kumasi, August 26, 2023

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), in one accord says the Affirmative Action Bill is critical for an all inclusive participation in the coming 2023 District Assemblies Level Elections for improvement of local governance and development.

They, for that matter passionately appealed to Ghana Parliament to speed-up the process to pass the Bill currently before the House to pave way and encourage more women, person’s with disabilities (PWDs) and Youth to actively participate in the DLEs. 

Ghana’s development agenda could not be achieved amidst discrimination and selective participation in decision making process, hence the need for urgent steps to fast-track processes of passing the bill for holistic and accelerated development national growth.

The CSOs made the appeal at a national dialogue campaign to increase awarenesses and promote massive participation PWDs, Women and Youth in the 2023 DLEs.

The one-day dialogue was organized by a CSOs consortium, Local Governance Network (LOGNet), Public Financing Management Network (PFM) and Chamber for Local Governance (CHaloG) with sponsorship from the GIZ.

It was a collaborative platform that brought development advocates and individuals together to ignite moves that would influence decisions and ensure that the voices of the vulnerable are heard and considered at all Levels. 

The dialogue was also to harness strategies to promote and empower the target group to be actively involved and increase participation in the coming DLEs and seek accountability in development processes.


At the middle zone dialogue held in Kumasi on Thursday, Mr. Christopher Dapaah, the National Coordinator, Local Governance Network (LOGNet) encouraged the citizenry to develop high interest to fully participate and contest the forthcoming DLEs and other public leadership positions.

The one-day event was participated by LOGNet members, representatives from the GIZ and other consortium members, professional bodies, the Electoral Commission, other public officials, Traditional Authorities, PWDs, Women groups and Youths.

It was conversation, education, sensitization, awareness raising and round table discussion among state and non-state actors on the need to participate in local governance and DLEs turnout.

Mr. Dapaah pleaded with development partners and key stakeholders to give prominence to the DLEs as being done for the Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

Because, holistic development can abounds when there is active citizens involvement in effective decision-making and other endeavors at the District levels.

In a speech read on his behalf, Mr. Simon Osei Mensah, the Ashanti Regional Minister who represented the Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo and western North stated democratic and decentralization ought to be very strong at the local level to improve development.

In that regard, the government is committed to bringing governance to the doorstep of the people, he added.

The Minister commended organizers of the dialogue, saying it would help improve the strength of all inclusiveness and active citizens participation in local governance.

Mr. Osei Mensah noted public awareness and sensitization on DLEs is one of the key factors to enhance voter turnout, hence urged the media, CSOs, the NCCE, the Electoral Commission, Information Services Department and all relevant stakeholders not to hesitate in delivery of public sensitization to increase voter turnout.


According to Nana Kwabena Aborampah Mensah, the programs manager for the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana (CDD-Ghana), there is poor performance and poor service delivery on the part of previous Assemblies, causing lose of public interest in local level elections.

There is high level apathy by stakeholders including the Parliament, the media, development partners, Civil Society Organizations, voters and Traditional leaders in issues of DLEs, he said.

Nana Aborampah express worry that low turnout and related activities in DLEs are taking much more of national resources, resulting in continues wasting of taxpayers’ money at the detriments of development.

Demoralizing Factors

Lack of engagement and interaction with the communities, issues of monetization, cultural barriers, violence and stereotyping are some causes of very low women representation in the local and entire governance system.

The Electoral Commission of Ghana

Mr. Benjamin Bano-Bioh, the Ashanti Regional Director, Electoral Commission, in a presentation noted Ghana is speedly losing the drive of local democratic governance.

It is therefore critical to take steps through dialogue among stakeholders and experts to strategize effective modalities to improve and help in sustaining systems for true local governance before the total trust of democratic nation is lost, he emphasized.

Mr. Bano-Bioh indicated that democracy can only be meaningful if the citizens at the local level feel, own and belong to its operations and aspirations, own fiscal or financial power, mobilize and utilize resources in more appropriate ways in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 16 of 2030).

Mr. Simon Manu, Senior Regional Coordinator, GIZ Governance for Inclusive Development reiterated that the right and willingness of all citizens to have a voice in decision-making, either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represents their intentions in broad participation is built on freedom of speech, Association and capacity to participate constructively.

He highlighted that the local elections in Ghana play a crucial role in promoting citizen participation in local governance and ensuring equitable distribution of resources and services as a prerequisite for an inclusive democratic society.
He stressed turnout rates have constantly fluctuated with most elections producing less than half of the turnout in Presidential and Parliamentary elections since 1992.

Mr. Manu further indicated some key reasons for the low citizens participation in the local government elections in Ghana are low publicity, low voter education and sensitization and lack of activities to whip up support from amongst citizens as compared to national elections.


After group discussions to ascertain from participants, the causes and solutions to the problem, the CSOs expect the government to educate citizens to enhance knowledge on local governance structures and functionalities and make DLEs more attractive and competitive for the local people.

While CSOs embark on rigorous public sensitization on the need for local communities interest in DLEs, the government should see it as more importance and inject resources in the DLEs activities, Mr. Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Chief Executive Officer of Global Media Foundation suggested.

“We, CSOs are therefore Calling on Ghana government and other development partners to be very much proactive on DLEs issues by providing adequate and timely publicity spaces for stakeholders including the Media ecosystem”.

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