Ghana needs a well-informed citizenry, capable of thinking critically and intelligently to participate in national affairs to enhance her democratic dispensation,Mr Nicolas Ofori Boateng,the Central Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education, (NCCE) has said.
Mr Ofori Boateng expressed concern that the majority of the citizenry seemed to be ignorant about institutions, principles and processes of governance as a result of the lackadaisical attitude they showed towards civic education programmes.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira Inter-Party Dialogue Committee, at Hemang, he noted that the sustenance of democratic culture and institutions in a country was largely dependent on the citizens' knowledge in basic principles of constitutional governance.
The Committee, whose members were drawn from the identifiable groups such as religious and traditional bodies in the District, would promote peace and resolve conflicts before, during and after the December Elections in the District.
It is being sponsored by the European Union.
He, therefore, appealed to Ghanaians to take keen interest in civil education activities to become more relevant in the development of the country.
He tasked the Committee to focus on preventive measures by identifying issues that could lead to conflicts and put in place measures to nib them in the bud.
Mr Ofori Boateng appealed to the political parties and other stakeholders to assist the NCCE in educating the public, especially on electoral processes and governance, explaining that civic education was a shared responsibility.
He said it was the mandate of the NCCE to promote and sustain democracy and inculcate in the Ghanaian citizenry their rights and obligations through civic education.
However, he said, many people perceived the NCCE to be irrelevant.
He debunked the perception that the Commission was only active at the time of national elections, saying that it had undertaken a lot of civic educational programmes to educate the public on many pertinent issues.
Mr Ofori Boateng urged all Ghanaians to play their respective roles to ensure that the December polls was peaceful, explaining that, the peacefulness of the election depended on the citizenry and not the amount of money spent on preaching peace.
Mrs Effie Hilda Ephson, the District Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission (EC) at the Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira District, condemned the involvement and conduct of the political parties during the vote transfer period, describing it as 'unfortunate'.
She said the exercise, which was supposed to be an individual affair was disrupted by the active involvement of political parties who conveyed persons who were not residents in the District to the Electoral Commission's office to embark on the exercise.
'Voters did not have utility bill receipts to prove they were residents in the area as required, we ask the chief in the area to vouch for them, but at a point political parties were giving letters to people to come to our office, it is very unfortunate,' she complained.
She said such attitudes and behavior of the political parties resulted in misunderstandings and violence, which created tension in the District and made the work of the EC very difficult.
Mrs Ephson said the whole electoral process was governed by laws and regulations and called the political parties to abide by the electoral rules to ensure peace throughout the electioneering.
She said the EC was prepared to conduct the elections in a free, fair and transparent manner to satisfy all stakeholders.