President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said Ghana's commitment to pursuing accountable and transparent democratic governance at the local level would lead to accelerated growth.
Addressing a training programme organised by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chiefs Executives (MMDCEs) in Kumasi the President noted that "a local governance system that brings on board all identifiable stakeholders in the decision-making processes, project planning and implementation, is the way the nation should go to enhance the wellbeing of the people."
According to the President, the success of any government in the implementation of its development agenda, to a large, depends on well-orchestrated participatory governance. "If the central government functions well, it means the local government is working," he noted.
Apart from MMDCEs, the training brought together key players in the decentralised local government system to discuss proposed reforms to deepen accountable governance through the election of MMDCEs, which is intended to modify the current constitutional mandate allowing the President to nominate them and transfer that prerogative to the citizenry.
President Akufo-Addo, who was in the Ashanti region for a three-day working visit, emphasised that allowing the citizenry to choose their MMDCEs vis-a-vis the existing practice which limits that responsibility to the local assemblies, would initially come with its challenges and friction.
He, however, drew inferences from scenarios and practices in countries such as South Africa and Kenya, where the choice of MMDCEs lied solely with the electorate.
Ghana had since 1992 under the Fourth Republican Constitution, embraced the local governance system, prosecuting its development agenda through the decentralised departments. This system had over the years been adopted and replicated in some African countries, serving as the model for the governance of their people.
"You do not govern without the concern of those governed" President Akufo-Addo stated, stressing that it was necessary to entrench accountability in the nation's political endeavours. It is a progressive step we are taking to further modernize our democracy. It is a moment of history for us," the President noted.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, pointed out that the local assemblies played a critical role in the nation's course of development.
It is, therefore, the vision of the central government to inject efficiency in the work of the local government to help meet the needs of the people.
Source: ISD (Ebenezer Bruce-Mills)