Operationalize district sub-structures to enhance decentralization

Cape Coast Sept. 10, GNA – Participants at a day’s consultation forum have advocated the resourcing and operations of the various Area Councils and Unit Committees, to ensure the smooth implementation of the decentralization process in Ghana.

The participants were of the view that the decentralization process as it stood currently was not effective because the sub-structures were not operational, thereby making it difficult for the public at the grassroots to effectively participate in decision-making and the implementation of development projects.

The participants made the observations during the Central Regional level Consultation Forum on the development of National Framework for Popular participation in Cape Coast.

The Forum organized by the Central Regional Coordinating Council in collaboration with the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralization, was attended by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Coordinating Directors, Planners, Media and the Civil Society Organizations in the Central Region.

It was to solicit views from stakeholders to be factored into the development of a comprehensive National Framework and Practitioner Manual on Popular Participation in Ghana.

The participants tasked the District Assemblies to make these sub-structures (area council, unit committees) operational, which they noted could make the work of the MMDAs easier and also give power to the local government services to work effectively.

On the challenges of the non-participation of the citizenry in the decision making process, the participants were of the view that the public had lost confidence in the MMDAs, coupled with the over-politicization of almost all programmes and projects initiated and implemented by the Assembles.

They also observed that the lack of trust in MMDAs was a bane to public participation, and stressed the need for the engagement of stakeholders like traditional authorities, the media and civil society organization, at the decision-making process.

Mr Edem Senanu lead consultant of Project Impact consult, who took the participants through the draft ‘National Framework for Popular Participation,’ said the framework was aimed at demystifying the MMDAs so as to get many more people to engage with them.

He pointed out that the citizenry did not have confidence in the Assemblies, because they did not know where to go to, or who to contact when they had any issue with the Assembly.

He said it was important to strengthen the capacity of the MMDAs to engage with their electorate on the district development agenda.

Mr Senanu underscored the importance of popular participation in decision-making, adding that ‘the more participation we get from citizens the better development and quality policies that can guarantee better lives for the people’.

He explained that popular participation was not to replace representative democracy, but to strengthen it, stressing that it would also provide an opportunity and create conditions necessary for citizens to engage in political life regularly and not during elections.

Mr Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, Central Regional Minister, in a speech read for him, urged the various MMDAS to come out with pragmatic programmes that would enhance the public participation in decision-making at the local level.

He commended IMCC for coming out with the programme which he noted would go a long way to deepen democracy.

The participants discussed the key challenges militating against popular participation approaches in Ghana, platform, channels, spaces and opportunities for popular participation and key stakeholders in popular participation activities and how they can be engaged by the MMDAs.

GNA


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