…..Group to Gov’t
The National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) U-turn for a “No” vote campaign with few days to the referendum suggests a cause for alarm since the party is a major stakeholder in our democratic process.
Again, owing to the fact that other Civil Society Organizations are campaigning for a “No” vote, it is important that government takes a second look at the policy and postpone the referendum if possible to allow for broader stakeholder consultations.
For even our Chiefs to be divided over this referendum and washing their dirty linen in public, tells how deep a crisis we will be in as a country if we rush to implement the policy. The best would be for government to postpone the referendum for proper stakeholder consultations to be done for the best interest of Ghana.
WE THE PEOPLE MATTER MOVEMENT, hope the government would have a listening ear to that effect.
Also, we would like to reiterate some few suggestions in our previous publications to make the decentralization process a success and not a white elephant.
- Whether a “Yes” or a “No” vote, there should be a District Development Authority (DDA) set up in each district. This can compose of the Chief Executive, MPs, Institutional heads, Chiefs and Religious leaders. The DDA’s should hold regular meetings in each district and be the body to spearhead the affairs and development of the district.
- The term limit of elected Chief Executives should not run concurrently to that of the general presidential and parliamentary elections. A separate election period should be held together for the MMCEs and Assembly members. This may cost the taxpayers in terms of organizing separate elections; however, the long run benefits of not turning the MMCEs election into another political jamboree every four years like the presidential and parliamentary elections, are far greater.
- We must give importance to the assemblymen at the local level. They are the direct representatives of the people and through them the Chief Executive will have first-hand information on the developmental needs of every locality under his/her district. This could then be tabled in DDA meetings by the Chief Executive.
- There should be a law that gives power to the DDA’s to sue Central government when District Assemblies Common Funds are not released on time to any of the districts. This is by way of reducing the over centralization of power at the Central government level.
- The DDA’s should also not rely solely on the Common Fund. They should be allowed by law to generate local taxes as they so wish for the development of their district.
- All State agencies and departments should be effectively decentralized along the election of MMDCEs. For instance, a teacher in Koforidua should not have to travel to Accra to get his/her salary issues resolved by Controller. The district level office of Controller and Accountant General should be able to resolve the pay issue amicably.
Proper decentralization at the local government level should involve total decentralization of state agencies and departments and not just the election of MMDCEs.
Dr. Sa-ad Iddrisu