Confusion nearly marred the inauguration of the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly in Odumase Krobo, as Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) openly objected to their nominee for the assembly.
The PWDs who thronged the event hall raised their hands and shouted on top of their voices to register their displeasure against the Municipal Chief Executive and the Municipal Social Welfare Director accusing them of selecting a PWD representative which they claimed the duo could control.
Their agitation brought the ceremony to a halt for about 10 minutes before the security details persuaded them to end their protest.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfour intervened by given them the opportunity to express their grievances after which calm was restored.
Mr Michael Tetteh-Soda, Public Relations Officer for the Lower Manya Krobo PWDs told the Ghanaian Times that their argument was based on the fact that the nominee was currently the Eastern Regional Chairman for the Association of the Blind, adding that he did not reside within the municipality.
"We have equally qualified and competent persons within this municipality who can represent our association and speak for all of us," he insisted.
Inaugurating the assembly, the Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Adjei Boateng said election and appointment of assembly members was a mark of confidence the people had in the persons they voted for, and urged them to live up to their responsibilities.
"Ladies and gentlemen, when the Assembly is served by dedicated and committed individuals who make a duty to demand accountability of themselves and management of the Assembly, then the credibility of the Assembly will be assured in respect of its decision making and service delivery to the people," he stated.
Mr Adjei Boateng expressed worry at the low level of Internally Generated Fund (IGF) in the various Metropolitan and Municipal District Assemblies(MMDAs).
That, he said, posed serious challenge to the fiscal autonomy of the MMDAs and the determination of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to achieve fiscal decentralisation.
He revealed that out of a total of GH¢5,160,228.51 recorded as total revenue for the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly in 2018, only GH¢707,794.73 was from IGF.
"This constitutes just about 13 per cent. In 2017, the IGF share was 9.57 per cent of total revenue (total revenue was GH¢6,626,939.00 versus IGF of GH¢634,442.40). This municipality deserves better than this," he said.
He, therefore, admonished all assembly members, traditional authorities and other bodies to support the assembly to mobilise IGF and equally hold them accountable.
The Deputy Minister assured of the government's commitment to deepening popular participation at the local level, adding that plans for the election of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives on partisan bases were on course.
For his part, the Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfour advised the newly inaugurated assembly members to see their position as a responsibility to support development and not to work against each other.
Mr Benjamin Awule Mensah was subsequently elected as Presiding Member for the assembly.