Political parties in the country have been advised to assist in increasing the participation of women and Persons with Disability in politics, by instituting gender sensitive and disability friendly measures in the selection and election of candidates and officials.
This, according to proponents, could be achieved when political parties put in place a legal process to support a proportional representation of women and persons with disability.
The call was made at the Validation of the 2011, Third African Governance Report (AGR III) project workshop in Accra on Wednesday. It was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).
The AGR is a research project commissioned by UNECA.The 2011 report is dedicated to elections and the management of diversity using indicators developed by the UNECA. It is a biennial report on governance in Africa and assesses and monitors the gaps in governance institutions and makes policy recommendations aimed at improving governance on the continent.
The workshop, held on the theme, "Election and Management of Diversities in Africa," presented findings of the 2011 report which highlighted issues on Gender and Representation, Disability and Representation, Electoral Governance, Economics of Elections, Public Social Resource Allocation,Polical competition and Internal Party Politics.
Presenting the key findings to participants, Mr Edward Ampratwum of CDD-Ghana, the organization which put together the report, explained that the aims of the AGR III, was to examine among other things, the conceptual and practical linkage between elections and management of diversity, the legal and structural processes for democratization that have emerged in Africa and how they address problems of pluralism and diversity management in Africa.
It also looked at how the structure and process of elections and political party organizations have impacted on elections and diversity management as well as the trends and varied experiences of African countries regarding elections and diversity management.
The findings, according to him, revealed that despite the pivotal role women played in the family, community and society at large, they did not occupy key-decision making positions in many sectors of the economy, political and social life.
"The number of women winning Parliamentary elections has improved only marginally. The number of women who succeed at the DA (District Assembly) election has been in steadily decline since 1998," he stated.
With respect to disability, Mr. Ampratwum observed that participation of PWDs in politics and government was very low in Ghana. He explained, "There is presently no PWD who is a Minister of State in government. Currently, no person with disability occupies a seat in Parliament. At the district level, no PWD has been appointed as District Chief Executive."
He therefore re-emphasized the need for political parties to assist in increasing the participation of Women, young people and PWDs in politics.
Professor Miranda Greenstreet, who chaired the event, maintained that managing diversity was necessary to strengthen democracy in the country. She advised Ghanaians to remain committed to safeguarding the peace that they were enjoying currently, adding, "we should all work towards ensuring a peaceful and transparent election come 2012."
Present at the event included Government Officials, Members of Parliament, Traditional Authorities, Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Security Services, among others.