Two or three days ago, one Hon. Nana Adabor Issah Ibrahim, popularly known as “Aponkye” has been making headlines for very obvious reasons: make his campaign policies known to his constituents. A contender in the upcoming district assembly elections, he hopes his campaign message will resonate well with his people and get him elected as the assembly man for Adukrom Nima, Kumasi.
His policies, no doubt, are seriously funny and somewhat achievable. From building of free “Makaranta” Islamic schools for muslims, building toilets for each household to providing tricycles (aboboya) for rubbish collection in the district. He seems to be reenacting a 2016 “one-thing for one person” election message, though the second two look doable.
With reason being that the Environmental and Health Directorate under Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources has launched an affordable loan scheme for people living in urban areas to build their own toilets. This was established to address the challenges of basic sanitation problem in urban communities.
“There are approximately four million households in Ghana who do not have a toilet for exclusive use by their family. While access to basic sanitation has increased from 21% to 25% in urban areas, statistics have proven that it is the poorest who are more likely to practice open defecation. The establishment of this new loan initiative will provide many households in urban communities the opportunity to build their own toilet.” – unicef.org
Free canopies and chairs for all ceremonies; Free job for the youth with instant pay of 20 cedis daily. These policies, if they deserved to be described as such, look more like a leap out of Mars. Just how are you going to make these happen, dear assembly aspirant?
But what is even more baffling? He wow-ed Nana Aba with the constitution, explaining how, among other things, Article 28(3) of the 1992 Constitution guarantees “Free breakfast for the youth. How “impossible” is that?
The Article 28(3) that I know says “A child shall not be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Just how this will translate into a free breakfast for the youth will depend on what interpretation the Supreme Court provides. I have no such power.
But if his assertions revealed anything at all, it is that a number of those aspiring for assembly positions have no inkling of what the constitution stipulates in regard to their responsibilities. How equipped are they then to execute their duties, and how will they identify infractions of the law should they happen?
As may be gleaned in Article 240(2) (a,b,c,d and e), it is the mandate of the Central Government to provide resources to the Districts to ensure smooth running of the day- to-day affairs to ensure development from the grassroots. It is in this regard that Hon. Aponkye may be making some sense at least, as the task of providing sanitation facilities (public toilets, ware management, etc) lies squarely with government.
Nevertheless, the paucity of ideas shown by some of the aspirants indicate how much of a joke our District Assembly elections have become. With the many “strutting generalissimos” and unscrupulous persons vying for the positions, it won’t be long before our district assemblies turn sham, delivering nothing more than hollow rhetoric that bears no semblance to what it is envisioned to be.
In large part, this situation might be arising directly from the failure of the EC to competently discharge its constitutional mandate of sensitising people on the election. Article 45(d) requires the commission to educate people on the electoral process and its purposes. If the EC did what it ought to do, we wouldn’t have this travesty of ideas about what roles an assembly member must perform.
Assembly elections do not warrant that you take things for granted. It is as important as major elections, given that a district assembly is “the highest political authority and shall have deliberative, legislative and executive powers.” In essence, the assemblies are as the foundation of a building; if it’s weak, it may not sustain the edifice for long. It is for this reason that genuine commitments need to be made to position our assemblies and their representatives to live up to the needs of constituents. Such commitment must begin with an honest assessment of the people people vying for assembly positions, relative to their qualifications and understanding of their mandates.
For me, the interview I saw of Hon. Aponkye is nothing but a comic relief. Already”Gari yayi zaafi”
As the assembly elections draw nigh, I leave you with this quote from an unknown source. “Bad politicians are elected by good people who do not vote.” Come December 17 2019, do well to make the right and reasonable choices.