Power vacuum in district assemblies can breed corruption – CSOs

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the Northern Region, have expressed concern that the power vacuum created in the district assemblies due to the postponement of the election of assembly members could fuel corruption and undermine development.

“Few people managing the resources of the assemblies within the power vacuum period… will not reflect the needs of the people and further defeat the decentralisation concept,” says Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Facilitator of the CSO forum.

Mr Awal was speaking at a press conference in Tamale on Friday.

Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development has directed the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to be responsible for the running of the assemblies until new elections are conducted.

The Electoral Commission rescheduled the election from October 23 to December 28 while awaiting a new Legislative Instrument to be able to go ahead with the exercise.

Dr Kwadwo Afari Djan, Chairman of the EC told a press conference that the commission had laid before Parliament re-demarcation and alignment of electoral areas, increase of the number of electoral areas from about 5,000 to 6,000, reduction of the number of unit committees from about 15,000 to 6,000 and trimming of  the membership of unit committee from 225,000 to 30,000 elected persons.

Mr Awal said the power vacuum in the 170 assemblies would deny the people the opportunity to demand accountability within the period.

He said aspiring assembly members who have invested resources in the exercise would also be frustrated.

The CSOs urged government to ensure the availability of the needed resources to the EC and the National Commission for Civic Education to create awareness on the new election date and also encourage the citizens to participate actively in the process.

They also called on the President to exercise his executive powers during the period of the power vacuum to ensure that the activities of the assemblies are not interrupted.

Source: GNA

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