Ghana: Make District Level Elections Partisan – Dr Herzuah

A lecturer at the Ghana institute of Journalism (GIJ) has recommended that the government consider making District Assembly elections partisan just like national elections.

Dr Paul Herzuah also proposed that the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462) (7) be amended to eliminate grey areas in future Metropolitan Municipal and District Assembly (MMDA) elections.

He made these recommendations when he presented a research work on the topic “Enacting Identity in Local Elections: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of Campaign Posters”.

Dr Herzuah was speaking at GIJ’s second Directorate of Research, Innovation and Development (DRID) Inter-Faculty Research seminar in Accra on Friday.

“Campaign messages of candidates in the form of posters could be designed in black and white to prevent any manipulations of the process,” he added.

Dr Herzuah indicated that the study, which was grounded in local government and focused on identifying construction of candidates via campaign messages, was aimed at promoting “local participation in the decision-making process at the lower level of government”.

The study, which focused on specifically the posters of Assembly Members in the 2020 elections, he said, sought to find out how these members negotiated their group identities on their posters to attract votes from electorates.

Explaining that identity was at the core of human interaction, Dr Herzuah noted the types of identity as personal, group and social.

“Data collection lasted four months with two research assistants involved. The mode involved contacts with aspirants, contact with campaign agents of aspirants and photograph of posters displayed in public places,” he added.

The lecturer said 110 posters were used out of the 132 collected, with the unit of analysis being image and text on the posters, and manual coding procedure was applied.

Dr Herzuah said 52.8 per cent of the posters, depicting colours of the two biggest political parties, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC), was a significant proof that MMDA elections were largely partisan contrary to ACT 462 (7).

“While national and other undefined posters designed in colours took 47 per cent,” he added.

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