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Government should make decentralization function well in the country – PM

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Mr Samuel Apenteng, an immediate past Presiding Member of the Akuapem North District Assembly, on Wednesday appealed to the government and future ones to make decentralization function properly because previous ones failed to activate the concept.

He indicated that various past governments only paid lip-service to the system and rather executed most policies which were not in the interest of the grassroots.

Mr Apenteng was speaking at the 11th Annual National Constitution Week celebration in Koforidua, by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), to discuss on the state of Ghana’s Democracy under the topic, “Decentralization.”

He expressed grief that governments, past and present, had caused the lower structures in the Local Government System to be weak and dysfunctional and as a result power was not being devolved down to the grassroots, which is the pivot of decentralization.

“Power is still being centralized to some extent; we need to get down to the people to address their needs. The Local Government structures have been put in place but are not resourced to function” he said.

Mr Apenteng lamented the fact that even before the common fund which was meant to ensure development at the grassroots are received, the government had already apportioned what the monies should be used for to the neglect of the various committees in the assembly.

He therefore called on governments and authorities at the District Assemblies to think about the proletariats, saying, they were the core factors of decentralization and added that the Electoral Commission (EC) should conduct elections to get persons to fill the vacant places at the lower level.

Mr Eric Bortey, the Eastern Regional Director of the NCCE, indicated that “the Local Government system means government at your door” but expressed worry that the government did not actually reach the doors of the grassroots because the lower structures were not functioning.

He reminded government’s present and those yet to come that the grassroots voted for them by way of giving their lives and destiny to them to manage for a period of time and that it did not mean they should take them for granted.

He asserted that lack of political will on the side of decision makers to implement the Unit Committees weakened the decentralization process in the country adding that if budgets were crafted in a composite form, the Unit Committee, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) could be elected without any problem and projects would reflect the aspirations of the proletariat.

Mr Bortey called on government to get down to the people and make them feel part of governance since it would be the only way to ensure effective decentralization.

He also entreated the EC to organize for the election of members to occupy the lower structures-the Urban, Zonal, Town and Area Councils- for effective implementation of decentralization.

Mr Samuel Donkor, the New Juaben Municipal Co-ordinator, lamented that the government appointees who were supposed to have technical know-how in various fields of work to help initiate developmental projects in communities in the district, happened to be worse than some Assembly members.

He said that the political spectacles in the appointment of those persons did not auger well for the country and that the appointments should genuinely be made rather than appointing some ill-equipped persons into the assembly.

Source: GNA

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