Reigniting citizens’ passion for local-level elections

In a few months, the Electoral Commission (EC) will conduct the 2023 District-Level Elections across all 6,272 electoral areas and 38,622 polling stations in the country.

This is to renew the mandate of local assembly members or elect new ones.

Historically, district assembly elections have been held in 1988/89, 1994, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2015, the most recent election was held on December 17, 2019 across the various Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

According to the Districts Assembly Elections Act of 1994, “District Assembly elections (DLE) are held every four years and shall be held at least six months apart from parliamentary elections.”

The primary aim of these elections is to ensure local representation and democratic governance at the grassroots level.

However, over the years, there has been noticeable disinterest or decline in citizens’ passion for local-level elections.

Many have predicted that this year’s elections might not receive more than 35 per cent.

This article seeks to discuss ways to reignite citizens passion for local level elections in our country.

Electoral Commission

The EC should publish the timetable for the elections early or in a timely manner.

This will drive citizens interest in the upcoming election.

As of the time the publication of this article, there has been little information on these upcoming election.

Enhancing civic education

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) is an independent, non-partisan governance institution set up under Article 231 of the 1992 Constitution and the National Commission for Civic Education Act, 1993, Act 452.

The commission works to promote and sustain democracy and inculcate in the Ghanaian citizenry the awareness of their rights and obligations through civic education.

The NCCE has over the years played an instrumental role in educating the citizens on the importance of local level elections.

Electoral officials setting up for the 2015 DLE.

However, given its important mandate, there is a room for improvement in the efforts of the NCCE.

Recently, the Head of the Political Science Department, University of Ghana, Professor Seidu Alidu, attributed the decreased enthusiasm amongst citizens towards local assembly elections to the low level of education regarding local governance systems.

He, therefore, called on the NCCE to intensify education on the benefits and rationale behind the establishment of the local governance system.


The MMDAs must frequently organise town hall meetings within the various electoral areas and interactive sessions through their internal generated funds.

 Engaging communities through these platforms provide a chance for leaders to directly connect with their communities, address issues facing their people and act on their feedback.

By doing this, MMDAs can foster an environment of openness, accountability and inclusive governance at the local level, actively involving the grassroots in decision making processes and policy discussions.

This creates a sense of feeling valuable, which would motivate citizens to vote. 
Media engagement

Generally, the media plays an important role in our society, including educating, information dissemination and entertaining us.

When it comes to elections, the media provides extensive coverage before, during and after elections.

Our media has been praised for its role in our democracy, often called the fourth estate.

The media can help increase this year’s voter turnout through early engagements of local-level government experts on the importance of the district-level elections, project and ensure quality information to the people by providing a fact-checking mechanism.


The upcoming election is an important exercise for the youth, women, Persons With Disability (PWDs) and vulnerable groups.

We need to do more to increase the turnout for the election which is scheduled for Tuesday, October 3, 2023.

If possible, the date can be shifted to a weekend or declared a public holiday to help push in more to vote, as well as intensify education on the importance of the election.

That would create awareness and help address hindrances affecting the participation of citizens in these elections.

The writers are a development communicator and a former Assembly member for the Lashibi Electoral Area/MA student, Institute of Local Government Studies, respectively.

SOURCE: GraphicOnline

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