In the 2019 District Level Elections organised simultaneously in Ghana on 17th December, a total number of 1, 049 aspirants contested to be elected as assembly members for the 15 assemblies in the Upper East Region. Out of the number, only 22 were women while the remaining 1, 027 were male aspirants.
At the end of the election, only 4 women were elected as assembly members while 355 men won to represent various electoral areas of the 15 municipal and district assemblies of the Upper East Region.
Two of the elected assembly women are from the Builsa South District and one each is from the Garu and Talensi districts of the Upper East Region.
But the Community Development and Advocacy Center (CODAC), a Civil Society Organization that works to promote equal opportunities for girls and women in the Upper East Region is working tirelessly to increase the number of women who would be elected to various assemblies of the region in the next year’s District Level Elections.
Executive Director of CODAC, Bukari Issaku expressed regrets that the number of women elected to the assemblies is not enough to serve the region’s female population of 669,963.
And as a result, he said his outfit is working to increase the number by 100 percent in the next district-level elections in the year 2023.
“22 women contested in the last election and out of the number, only 4 won. It is not encouraging and our target is that we are trying to see if we can get at least 15 women from all the 15 assemblies contesting. So that at the end of the election, if we are able to get even 3 or 4 women winning from each assembly, then we will definitely be getting the target”, Mr. Issaku disclosed.
The Executive Director of CODAC attributed the cause of the low number of women contesting for the district-level elections in the region to sociocultural factors and infiltration of political party activities at the district-level elections.
“People are politicising the district assembly concept which is not supposed to be. It is supposed to be non-partisan but when it gets to the time, political parties come in and hijack the process. And in the Upper East Region, women are also economically vulnerable. They don’t have the resources to contest. And these are some of the things that are affecting their participation and winning”, he disclosed.
While reiterating the need for many women to be elected in the next year’s district-level election, Mr. Issaku stated that “the four elected assembly women in the region have performed marvellously well than most elected assemblymen.”
He was speaking to a section of the media during a day of capacity-building training for selected media personnel in the Upper East Region. The training was for the media to be abreast with gender-based issues so they can properly advocate for an all-inclusive society where women would be given equal opportunities, especially on decision-making platforms towards attaining goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
CODAC is implementing a project known as the ‘Gender Rights and Empowerment Program’ (G-REP) to increase the number of women in the decision-making process in the Upper East Region. The 3-year project with the Bawku west district and Bolgatanga municipality being the focus area is led by the STAR-Ghana Foundation with funding from the Foreign, Common Wealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Issaku indicated that CODAC hopes to achieve its target by profiling aspiring assembly women and building their capacity on manifesto development. He said the CSO would work closely with the media to amplify the voice of aspiring assembly women in the region.
Some Chiefs and Queen mothers in the Upper East Region, Mr. Issaku said, would be roped in as role models to advocate and lobby for women to be elected in the 2023 District Level Elections.
Source: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Bolgatanga|Ghana