By: Jerry Akornor/www.africanakua.com, Ghana.
Policy Think Tank, Movement for Responsible and Accountable Governance (MoRAG) is calling on President Akufo-Addo and former President H.E John Dramani Mahama to adequately resource assembly members to enhance Ghana’s development agenda at the local level if elected in the crucial 2020 polls.
The latest call from the policy think tank comes at the time the flag bearer of opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), H.E John Dramani Mahama, promises to put assemblymen and women on salary so that they could be motivated to effectively discharge their duties which are aimed at bringing a lot more developmental projects to the door step of the locals whilst enhancing decentralization.
The former President’s promise has since received mixed reactions and a backlash from the members of the NPP including the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, who believes the promise is legally impossible.
The NDC is scheduled to launch its 2020 Manifesto on August, 31 after the governing party-New Patriotic Party (NPP) launched its 2020 manifesto in Cape Coast paving way for electioneering campaigns in Ghana.
However, before the Election 2020 battle line is drawn, MoRAG is of the view that assemblymen and women ought to be sufficiently resourced to compliment the effort of the central government to scale up Ghana’s democratic agenda. According to the Executive Director of MoRAG, Emmanuel Owusu, evidence shows that assembly members have contributed to Ghana’s developmental goals and democratic experiment and so they must be well-resourced to scale up.
A statement issued by MoRAG urges the NDC flag bearer not to pay lip-service to the promise if elected but to make it a reality. The statement, signed by the Executive Director, Emmanuel Owusu, indicated that “Chapter 20 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides for the establishment, practice and development of a decentralized local government administration system…Most of the country’s tangible developmental products like the construction of markets, roads, school infrastructure, improvement in rural electrification, amongst several other programs have been achieved at the instance of constant lobbying and advocacy of our Assembly members over the years.
“Let me commend the NDC’s Presidential Candidate, H.E John Dramani Mahama for his decision to use the state resources to pay our Assembly members when elected President in the December 7, 2020 polls. This promise should not remain as one of those campaign promises to win political power but should be backed by a workable implementation framework.”
Mr. Emmanuel Owusu believes that the Local Government Act 462 which mandates assemblymen to play roles in governance can hardly be enforced if the latter are not well-resourced. According to him, the deliberate decision not to amply provide assemblymen with adequate logistics and remuneration by future can only undermine the democratic principles upon which the state rests.
READ THE STATEMENT ISSUED BY MoRAG BELOW:
CALL FOR THE NEED TO RESOURCE ASSEMBLY MEMBERS TO HELP CHAMPION GHANA’S DEVELOPMENTAL AGENDA
Chapter 20 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana provides for the establishment, practice and development of a decentralized local government administration system. The Local Government ACT, 2010, (ACT 462) and other related constitutional instruments further provide for and regulate the framework within which the system operates.
These laws confirm the role our Assemblymen and women play in the country’s developmental drive. Most of the country’s tangible developmental products like the construction of markets, roads, school infrastructure, improvement in rural electrification, amongst several other programs have been achieved at the instance of constant lobbying and advocacy of our Assembly members over the years.
It points to the fact that our Assembly system has witnessed many developmental projects in the fourth republic. Ghana can boast of thousands of projects undertaken by Assembly members in collaboration with the central government including Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs); Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs); Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); Faith-based Organizations (FBOs); amongst several other developmental entities.
As we recount the many achievements of our Assembly members in the various districts of Ghana, it’s important to focus our attention on the need to adequately resource them to do more.
To do more, many of our Assembly members have expressed the concern of decent remuneration package in the form of salaries and/or allowances to keep them afloat whiles focusing on the business of community development.
Successive governments in the fourth republic have gone to sleep on the need to improve the working conditions of Assembly members to help champion the developmental agenda of the country, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution as development agents.
A careful review of previous manifestos of Ghana’s political parties from 1992 to the recent 2020 NPP manifesto revealed that, as a nation we have not clearly put forward any structured conditions of service package for our hardworking Assembly members.
To address this issue, I am calling for a stakeholder discussion on the restructuring of local assembly system, i.e. Proper and structured conditions of service backed by law for our Assembly members, Redefining the roles of our Assembly members to deliver development to our local communities. I believe a well-structured conditions of service package that would give Assembly members monthly salary and offices to discharge their constitutionally mandated duties will be a welcoming news in our quest to decentralize development in Ghana.
Let me commend the NDC’s Presidential Candidate, H.E John Dramani Mahama for his decision to use the state resources to pay our Assembly members when elected President in the December 7, 2020 polls. This promise should not remain as one of those campaign promises to win political power but should be backed by a workable implementation framework.
As a country, we believe we should have a national dialogue on the restructuring of our local governance system in Ghana.