A LOCAL Government consultant, Mr Kwamena Ahwoi, has suggested that the President’s power to appoint 30 per cent of assembly members should be taken away and given to the National House of Chiefs.
According to him, that power given to the President has often been abused by the various Presidents at one time or the other and needs to be changed “if we are to achieve an effective and efficient decentralisation system in the country.”
Mr Ahwoi, who is also a lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), made the suggestion at a public lecture on Ghana’s decentralised system in Sunyani on the topic: “One Step Forward: The significance of L.I. 1961 in Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies’ Capacity.”
The lecture was organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, in conjunction with the Local Government Service (LGS), and was attended by traditional rulers, municipal and district chief executives, directors and staff of decentralised departments in the region.
Mr Ahwoi further stated that because of the power to appoint 30 per cent of assembly members was conferred on the President by the 1992 constitution, political parties in power had used that to reward their members by appointing people who were incompetent to the assemblies.
He cited instances, especially during the reign of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under President J.A. Kufuor, when such government appointees to the assemblies were sacked or removed en bloc to pave way for the President to appoint a new set of people just to vote to approve his nominees for the position of District Chief Executive (DCE).
He added that after the approval of the President’s nominee for DCE those who were sacked were re-appointed by the President and this was not helpful to the country’s decentralisation process.
Mr Ahwoi allayed the fears of the staff of the civil service who would be migrated to the Local Government Service that they rather stood to benefit since a LGS Act had been put in place to regulate conditions of service and conduct.
The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, suggested that a second look be taken at the role of the Regional Co-ordinating Councils (RCCs), especially in the consideration of resource allocation.
He stated further that the responsibilities assigned to and undertaken by the RCCs far outweighed the resources allocated for the purpose.
That, he said, made it extremely difficult for the RCCs to discharge these important assignments, a situation that normally tended to portray the RCCs as ineffective in performing their functions.
“I am sure I speak on behalf of all the RCCs and their functionaries in making a strong appeal that this issue be given an early and urgent attention.
The Head of the Local Government Service Secretariat, Mr Akwasi Opong Fosu, said the passage of L.I. 1961 was significant in the local government system in the country.
Osahene Kwaku Aterkyi, the President of the Brong Ahafo Regional House of Chiefs and Omanhene of Kukuom Traditional Area, who chaired the function, said if the decentralisation system was fully implemented, it would create employment to absorb unemployed graduates at the district level, which would also bring about a remarkable improvement in the living conditions of the people.