Claim: Upcoming Lower Manya Krobo District Assembly election has no woman filing to contest.
Verdict: Misleading! Thirty-six women have filed and are contesting the Unit Committee election.
On January 7, 2023, Ghanaweb published a story, part of which suggested that no woman filed to contest the upcoming District Assembly election. The headline of the story stated, “no woman files to contest upcoming Lower Manya Krobo District Assembly Elections,” and details of the referred publication suggest that the Unit Committee Election and the Assembly Membership elections are different.
However, the two representative elections are the same, considering the framework of the District Assembly concept.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana has set Tuesday, January 17, 2023, to conduct elections for Electoral Area and Unit Committee representation at the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly, thus District Assembly Level Elections.
The Commission opened nominations between December 13 and 15, 2022, asking citizens interested to file their nominations.
A GhanaWeb reporter in the area reported that the next District Assembly would be inaugurated without a female representation, following the fact that the only female candidate, Hawa Yakubu, 44, has officially written to the commission withdrawing from the contest of the Electoral Area representation at the Assembly.
“The situation means that the next District Assembly will again be inaugurated without female representation.”
The reporter said that out of 244 candidates contesting for the Unit Committee Election, 36 are females.
The more demanding reason this write-up is essential is that the Ghana web publication has generated a heated argument on social and traditional media among the populace in the area, with some describing the headline as misleading.
Verification from the District office of the Electoral Commission in Lower Manya Krobo in the Eastern Region indicates that 36 women are contesting for the District Assembly Level elections.
It is important to understand the Local Assembly structure and framework guiding local elections to establish why this report is misleading.
What authorities are saying about District Assembly Elections
The current District Assembly practice was established in 1988 by Provision National Defence Council Law 207. This was enshrined in the 1992 Constitution and detailed in ACT 462 of 1993. This has been further amended in ACT 963 of 2016 by the parliament of Ghana.
The system has five local government levels, with the Regional Coordinating Councils at the top, followed by Municipal/Metropolitan/District Assemblies, Sub-Metropolitan Districts, Urban/Town/Area/Zonal Councils, and Unit Committees at the base.
Note that “representatives at the local level in Ghana’s District Assembly system include the Members of Parliament (MPs), Assembly Members and the Unit Committees,” Gabriel Botchwey of the University of Education, Winneba wrote in his research work.
Also, in the book, “A guide to District Assembly in Ghana,” the Unit Committees are at the lowest level and form the basic unit of the Local Governance or the Assembly structure.
In an attempt by DUBAWA to seek clarity, Mr Jonathan Okine, the District Director of Elector Commission (EC) at Lower Manya Krobo, said both elections are named the District Assembly Level Elections. As a result, it was inappropriate to say no woman has filed to contest.
“We have District Level Elections, which we can break into two; candidates to the District Assembly and candidates to the unit committee,” the EC boss has said, adding, “the two form the district level elections.”
No woman contesting for the representation of the Electoral Area at the District Assembly, Mr Okine said, “no female candidate is vying for the District Assembly, but female candidates are vying for the unit Committee Election.”
He remarked, “you cannot say there is no female candidate contesting in the District Assembly Elections.”
The Electoral Commission of Ghana is mandated by law to seek electoral activities, including District Level Elections.
The Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), another state agency mandated to educate and sensitise citizens, Mr Eric Kwesi Yanney, cites ACT 462 of 1993, insisting the two elections are the same.
“If some females have filed for the Unit Committee election, but the storyline suggests that no woman is contesting, I will say that the two exercises are separated. They are one thing put together in one box,” Mr Kwesi said.
This data and comments from resource persons are contrary to the headline by Ghana Web.
Krobo Development Caucus
A member of the Krobo Development Caucus WhatsApp platform, a social media platform hosting members of the Krobo communities, Sir Terkper Bright, reacted by saying that “I’m only concerned about the headline; I don’t have a problem about the story, adding “the headline is misleading.”
EC’s Data available for the upcoming elections
Official information revealed by the District Director of the Electoral Commission for Lower Manya Krobo indicates that a total of 127 candidates have filed to contest to be members of the Assembly.
Mr Jonathan Okine further noted that 244 candidates, including 36 women, are contesting for the Unit Committee level election.
Considering the information above, it is misleading to suggest that no woman has filed to contest for the upcoming District Level Elections in Lower Manya Krobo municipality.
“As I said, the headline is misleading. It means no woman has actually contested, suggesting that the two elections are separate entities,” Mr Eric Kwesi Yanney, Upper Manya Krobo District NCCE Director, emphasised.