Where Are Our MPs? Constituents Ask

Even though they are seen as the most direct representatives of their constituents, an overwhelming number of these constituents, 87%, according to a Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) study, do not have any contact with their Members of Parliament (MPs). The figure is slightly better with assembly members, except that even with these more grassroots representatives, 68% of respondents in the CDD study report very low contact with them. Even for political party officials, ordinarily assumed to be representatives of mass organisations, 87% of respondents also reported low contact with these organisations. The worst result was with officials in authority, where a whopping 89% of respondents ticked low contact in relationship to their interactions with these duty bearers. The results are contained in findings of research undertaken by the CDD under a project dubbed “I AM AWARE”; The project, also titled ‘Improving the delivery of public goods and services in Ghana’ undertook studies in 20 districts in the country to collect, analyze, archive and disseminate social and economic information on the state of public goods and service delivery in Ghana, among other objectives. The project was formulated against the background that public services are very important in determining the quality of life of citizens. It is also against the observation that though funds for public services are scarce, there have been several instances where funds meant for the provision of public goods and services have been used to benefit a few, at the expense of many. There were, however, a number of positives from the study, including the fact that most Ghanaians in the areas studied have high interest in public affairs, about 7 out of 10 (69%) of respondents. Also, most respondents expressed interest in the management of the economy, education and health. The research also found out that while most people were interested in public affairs, they found some of the issues discussed, especially on radio, a principal form of information dissemination, rather confusing. The research, which covered selected districts in eight regions – Central, Western, Volta, Brong Ahafo, Upper West, Northern and Ashanti, was done at two points: a pre-election survey in August 2012 and a post-election one in February 2013.