For the last few weeks, one has observed a relatively unusual alacrity towards cleaning activities in some communities in the city. 

I have been out and about in town and have seen concerted efforts in distilling gutters with heaps of sand and other dirt dug out from these same drains and gutters. Days later, one has witnessed trucks loading heaps of sand from the roadsides.  

In other times, those heaps would have been left until the next rains swept them back to where they were taken from.

One has also observed some colourfully clad street cleaners out there in their numbers sweeping the streets clean. What is the game changer, I wondered.

District election

Initially, my thinking was that for a change, communities were preparing for the festive occasion with the beautification of common areas on their minds. Then the other day I heard the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Dan Botwe, on the floor of Parliament, calling on his colleague Members of Parliament (MPs) to whip up enthusiasm in their constituencies regarding the forthcoming District Level Elections (DLEs) scheduled for December 19.

Something then clicked. My mind went to the numerous posters already littered all over the place as I began to connect what those posters were for. 

Days later, the Electoral Commissioner’s (EC’s) representative and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) were in the media talking about district level elections and the role of the electorate.  Things began to add up as some aspirants were also in the media talking about their plans for their Assemblies. So, why the quietness in preparing the minds of the electorate until a few days to the D-day?

All things being equal, this is one election that should have been top of mind. That the hype, the jingles and all the education that are expected to go for this all-important election and the conscientisation in the media were left low key till a few days to voting beats understanding. 

Yet the district level election, as one understands it, is where leaders who will be very close to and be in direct interaction with the people, will work with them for effective developments at the local level, will be selected. Very crucial election, yet, it is looking to be a most forgotten process.

Perhaps the quiet nature of what has gone on so far in terms of education and conscientisation is not too surprising. Some citizens spoken to by the media said, “After all what do the assemblies do for the people?” Worrying but it is a very legitimate question.

Until this year when GRA stepped in to collect property rates for example, the Assemblies have collected those annual rates year after year but there is very little in most communities to show what they have done with those rates. The same goes for market tolls collected which leave very little to show looking at the pile of garbage in some prominent markets in Accra for example.

Animals such as goats and cows roam about in residential areas as if that should be the norm.  No one pays attention to that. Streets are blocked at will for funerals and private parties to the inconvenience of residents. As for noise pollution, churches and music makers compete daily sometimes into dawn. Yet there are Assembly bylaws on noise pollution.

I have lived in my present community since 1997.  26 years on, my neighbours and I have yet to pinpoint anything the District Assembly has done to merit appreciation. The roads leading to our homes have stayed rough and dusty. We have individually constructed our drains and gone to the extent of having covered them.

Homeowners have provided their street lights and arranged rubbish collection services. There are no parks or areas for relaxation. Our beaches are filthy and unsafe, and our markets and lorry parks are surrounded by endless filth.

Elsewhere, local authorities and their city mayors control the show and are doing everything to make their areas the best and most attractive to live in. No wonder their local authority elections attract so much attention and participation.

On Tuesday, December 19, the focus across the country is on the all-important DLEs to select representatives for the next four years. Unfortunately, some of us have not seen any campaigning. We do not know who the candidates in our areas are. How does one go to the polls and more important, vote for who?

It is a shame we allow partisan political elections to take the limelight every four years and kind of play down the election of critical development agents at the local level. 

From what one is seeing, perhaps in the future, equal balance should be given to publicising district level and partisan political elections. Our local communities are crying for development. It is the level to mobilise the youth and engage them on developments in their areas. 

How are we positioned to move on after these seemingly quiet DLEs which have the potential to bring effective development to the people much faster?

That will mean continuous education and stressing the importance of going to the polls to select leaders who will lead them. Some have predicted up to 60 per cent turnout. We wait to see. 


The writer can be contacted via email at 

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.