Albert Kwabena Dwumfuor
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is urging the media fraternity to give intensive and sustained publicity to the upcoming local government elections to ensure high voter turnout.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has scheduled Tuesday, December 19, 2023, for the local government elections in 6,272 electoral areas in all the districts across the country, except Nkoranza North and Nkoranza South in the Bono East Region, for the election of assembly members and unit committee members for the next four years.
However, the GJA in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Kofi Yeboah, stated that the Journalist’s body appreciates the importance of governance at the local level in a decentralised democracy and that as the basic structure of the country’s national governance architecture, it is critical to strengthen leadership at the local level on which the building blocks of democracy are laid.
According to the statement, the GJA also believes that leadership at the local level is fundamental to Ghana’s development and that electing the right persons to serve in the district assemblies and unit committees is the first step towards national development.
“Given the critical role of the media as development agents, it is imperative for the media fraternity to rally the people for high patronage in the upcoming local government elections”.
“We call on media houses to offer their platforms to the candidates, electorate, election management body and other electoral actors to share their thoughts and opinions in a manner that would ensure the success of the elections,” the statement said.
It continues that the media must also help to educate the electorate on the importance of local governance and the need for them to get involved by going to the polls.
“The GJA particularly urges the media to exhibit high professional standards in the electioneering, and use the coverage of the local government elections as a test case for Election 2024 that must be passed with excellence”.
“While urging the media to give high publicity to the upcoming elections, we also encourage the electorate to turn out in their numbers to elect their local representatives to help push the frontiers of their development”.
“A good voter turnout, especially in local elections, is an indication of the willingness of the citizens to participate in the decision-making of their communities” the GJA stated.
The Journalist’s body further urges the electorate to give the same importance they attach to the general elections, to the local government elections, by turning up in their numbers at the polls on December 19, 2023.
“Let’s make our democracy healthier by coming out in our numbers to vote to enhance development at the local level” the statement underscored.
-BY Daniel Bampoe