Politics of Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Source: GNA

Disability group empowered on Elections 2012

Disability Groups in the Volta Region were on Wednesday sensitized on Ghana’s electoral process, the role of various stakeholders and the Political Parties Act 574.

Other issues discussed included the productive usage of social media platforms, the Biometric Voter Registrations (BVR) and participation by disability groups, youth in elections and conflict management in post 2012 elections.

Mr Kinna Likimani, Project Lead, Ghana Decides- Blogging Ghana (A BloGh Election Project), addressing participants at the workshop, called for collective vigilance on the electoral processes to ensure free, fair, transparent and credible elections in December.

He charged disabled groups, youth and vulnerable persons to participate fully in the electoral process, saying “do not allow your fragility to be a hindrance to active involvement in Elections 2012.

The Ghana Decides- A BloGh Election Project, is funded by STAR-Ghana under its Election 2012 project aimed to encourage a better informed electorate for free, fair and safe elections using online social media tools.

The non-partisan project also aims to educate the youth, civil society organisations and public institutions on the effective use of social media for social change.

Mr Likimani called on election management bodies, the various political parties and the National Commission for Civic Education to inculcate vulnerable groups in their electoral projects.

The groups used the workshop to analysis the on-going Biometric Voter Registration process, its impact on the groups, operational hiccups, hindrances to their participation in the BVR especially accessibility to most registration centres.

The groups therefore recommended to governance institutions such as the Electoral Commission (EC), NCCE and other stakeholders to work-out campaign strategies for people with disability.

Mr Francis Ashong, Director of Voice Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, tasked the groups to mobilize their efforts and work together to realize their demands after elections.

He tasked members of the group to always exercise their franchise whilst calling on government to equip ordinary people to deal with any tension that could bring challenges.

Mr Eli Aidam, of the Centre for Creative Youth, tasked the youth to spread the message of peace throughout the election year and afterwards, stressing that the work of ensuring and maintaining peace must be primarily led by Ghanaians.

He cautioned the group to beware of “blind solidarity” and shun away from supporting political parties only because of their parents and other influential people.

Mr Aidam tasked the participants to make their own independent choices, get involved in national issues and defeat the perception of apathy among Ghanaian youths.

The workshop was attended by members of Voice Ghana in Abutia Kloe, the Centre for Creative Youth and other physically challenged groups in Ho.

STAR-Ghana is a multi-donor pooled funding mechanism by DFID, DANIDA and EU and seeks to support Civil Society Organisations to enhance transparency, fairness, free and peaceful Election 2012.

STAR-Ghana acknowledges the critical role CSOs and non-state actors play in consolidating democracy.**