AS the Minister of State in the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, Selemani Jafo flags off the registration exercise of the citizens for the coming local government elections in November, this year, everyone should see its essence in public.
This is because the nature of democracy is that it elects officials, who are accountable to the people, and they must return to the voters at prescribed intervals to seek their mandate to continue in office.
For that reason most democratic constitutions provide that elections are held at fixed regular intervals, which the government honours also democratically.
The citizens should know that voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate, in order to make a collective decision or express an opinion, usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns, which at the end of the day come back to benefit them.
With a government (read leader) elected by its citizens, he/she would affect every aspect of the lives of the people right from schools to health care to homeland security, because voting is an important right in their society.
By voting, every citizen should know that they are making their voices to be heard and registering their opinions on how they think and want their government to operate.
It should be noted that the existence of the local government has always been defended on the basis that it is a crucial aspect of the process of democratisation, and intensification of mass participation in the decision-making process, which touches on the lives of the citizens, besides being their right.
No political system is considered complete and democratic if it does not have a system of local government for its citizens.
However, local government serves a two-fold purpose, where the first purpose is the administrative purpose of supplying goods and services; the other purpose is to represent and involve citizens in determining specific local public needs and how these local needs can be met.
For that matter, this is an important exercise that should be supported by all citizens and should not be politicised.