This year’s Citizenship Week, organised by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), will commence from May 26, 2013.
Situated within the domain of democracy, the public education programme is to remind especially young Ghanaians of their responsibilities as citizens and the role they can play in building a strong, vibrant and a democratic Ghana.
According to the Communications and Corporate Affairs Director of the NCCE, Mrs Joyce Afutu, the week-long activity will cover 4,500 schools with about 1,200,000 schoolchildren expected to be involved. All 216 offices of the NCCE across the nation are co-ordinating the project, which runs on the theme: “Indiscipline and how it weakens the pillars of our democracy.”
It also places emphasis on individual acts of indiscipline that affects the nation. Pupils will be sensitised to understand civic life and will also be encouraged to accept values and virtues of good citizenship as part of their lives.
What destroys democracy?
There are certain behaviours that destroy democracy and its pillars, and one of them is indiscipline, says Mrs Afutu.
In a briefing, she told the Daily Graphic that indiscipline as a behaviour outside the system of rules of conduct or acceptable norms of the society, did not help our national development..
She pointed out that any act of indiscipline carried out by citizens affected one or more of our constitutional institutions and destroyed our democracy. She cited the example in which when children under 18 years registered to vote, they were disobeying electoral laws and weakening the Electoral Commission.
Every society, institutions or groups, she said, had rules and regulations governing their behaviour which must be respected by all.
“Families, schools, workplaces and the country as a whole have their rules; you can only belong to such a group if you obey all its rules and regulations,” she added.
In her view, a disciplined person is always expected to put the interest of the nation first, respect national symbols, obey the national laws, and respect rights of others.
Such a person, she says, is also expected to protect public property, respect and obey school rules, protect and safeguard the environment and respect the views of others.
They will also respect authority and the elderly, abstain from bribery and corruption, contribute to the well-being of the community, live in peace and harmony with others and respect the religion of others, she added.
“As we celebrate citizenship week 2014, let us all remember to be law-abiding to help strengthen the pillars of our democracy,” she stressed.
According to the Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs of the NCCE, the commission sets apart a week each year, especially for a very important group of people in Ghana, the youth, on whom the future of the nation depends, to sensitise them to issues of national importance.
“If Ghana will become a great nation, it starts with the youth,” she asserted.
To meet this goal, she said, the NCCE in 2012 instituted Citizenship Day as part of its Annual Constitution Week activities.
According to her, Citizenship Week creates the environment where people in leadership positions, professionals, academia, great and accomplished citizens who the NCCE engages as volunteers living in communities interact with and impact virtues of good citizenship and the need to uphold democratic governance to pupils of basic schools across the country.
“Citizenship Week further aims at encouraging mentorship for pupils,” she stated.
From a humble beginning of visiting 757 schools with 145,800 pupils participating in the Citizenship Week in 2012, the programme was extended to 4000 schools and 1,000,000 participants in 2013.
She said Ghanaians must work together in ensuring continued peace, prosperity and stability in Ghana through nurturing and helping future leaders to imbibe virtues which will prepare them to be active participants in Ghana’s democratic dispensation.
Democracy, as a system of government where people form political parties and the rest of the citizens vote to choose from among them who to be President and who to be members of Parliament, has been described as a good system because every citizen can decide on who to lead the country and can also offer himself or herself to be voted for if they qualify.
There are other systems of government which are not democratic. Leaders in those systems are not accountable to their people. They do not take the views of their people into consideration but rather force their own views and decisions on them.
Democracy is, therefore, a better system if Ghana is to develop well and it is the duty of every citizen, including children, to protect it.
For Ghana’s democracy to work well, the constitution of Ghana has set up or allowed certain institutions which the NCCE refers to as the “pillars of our democracy” to operate in Ghana.
There are three arms of government (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary), security services (police, immigration, Prisons and Fire), independent governance institutions (NCCE, Electoral Commission, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, National media commission), Media and the Chieftaincy institutions.
Source: Daily Graphic