Assembly members who cannot speak the English Language which is the main medium of communication during District Assembly sittings have complained about their plight.
Assembly women and Unit Committee Members drawn from the Bolgatanga Municipality, Talensi-Nabdam, Bawku Municipal and Bawku West Districts expressed the worry during a validation workshop organized by the Centre for Sustainable Development (CENSUDI) in Bolgatanga.
They said the trend was serious and that it was hampering development in their respective areas since all the agenda of the Assemblies were deliberated in English, making it difficult for the illiterate ones to participate and contribute to development issues.
The participants indicated that any time they attempt to speak the local dialect at the Assembly meetings they were intimidated, thus frustrating them.
He stressed the need for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to ensure that the Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies (MMDAs) get interpreters to enable them to participate effectively and make an impact in their respective communities.
Another issue that emerged during the validation work was that most of the women who contested for the last District Assembly elections lost, because most of them were illiterates and had little resources to embark on campaigns, especially in the larger constituencies.
They also attributed the problem of not winning the election to lack of transportation, stressing that whilst most of their male counterparts had motor bikes and could travel to the constituencies to campaign they had to walk.
“We were also accused of not coming from the communities where we live and contested and and that we only came to marry there,” the participants said.
The participants noted that cultural barriers such as men being superior to women also affected them.
The 27 participants, who expressed interest to contest for the District Assembly Elections in 2014, called on CENSUDI and other NGOs to support them to overcome numerous problems they encounter.
Assistant Gender Advocacy Officer of CENSUDI, Ms Alice Akayete, said CENSUDI through Community Driving Gender Advocacy Meeting (CODRIGGAM), supported 27 aspiring Assembly Women and Unit Committee Members to contest for the 2010 election and that 11 of them won the District Assembly Election, whilst 3 of them were elected as Unit Committee members.
She explained that the purpose of the validation workshop was to know the challenges and causes why some of the aspirants could not win the election in 2010 and to strategize and prepare them well towards the 2014 election.
“It is also to help CENSUDI identify key issues to enable it to develop a good proposal to donors to help aspiring assembly women and unit committee in the forthcoming 2012 election”
Mrs Beatrice Borizina, Assembly woman for Datuuk and Mrs Elizabeth Dok, Assembly Woman of Kongo East electoral areas, commended CENSUDI for the support particularly in the area of capacity building and resources, stressing that it contributed to their victory during the last District Assembly Election.
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