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Ghana’s 46 newly created districts take off despite protests

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President John Atta Mills

The 46 newly created municipal and district assemblies have been simultaneously inaugurated across the country by government officials on behalf of President J. E. A. Mills.

The inauguration at some districts was characterised by protests and agitations over the citing of the newly created municipal and district assemblies while some communities vent their spleen over the removal of those communities from the initially publicised list.

The Legislative Instruments (LIs) on the creation and establishment of the new municipal and district assemblies was gazetted on March 9, this year.

In the Brong Ahafo Region, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, who inaugurated the new Techiman North District Assembly at Tuobodom, announced that the government had made provisions for members of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to receive emoluments starting this year.

He said the emoluments of the Presiding Member and the Assembly members are to be fixed by a proposed Independent Emoluments Commission and paid by the Central Government. This has already budgeted for.

According to Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, although the role of the Assembly Members had been by and large voluntary, there was the need for some level of motivation for them to deliver.

The new Techiman North District Assembly was carved out of the Techiman Municipal Assembly and has Tuobodom as its capital.

Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo noted that the promise to strengthen and provide logistics for Assembly Members has been kept by the provision of more than 9,000 motorbikes to all assembly members and an orientation programme for all Assembly Members.

The Minister announced that as a related strategy for enhancing the work of the district assemblies and making it easier for the DCEs, Presiding Members, Assembly Members and other local government practitioners to identify and internalize the framework for local governance in Ghana, the government had decided to consolidate all the major laws on local government and decentralization so that in one legislation, a local government practitioner could have access to all the primary source material on the subject.

According to Mr. Ofosu Ampofo, the legislative review task force that was set up to undertake the assignment had already successfully consolidated the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, the Local Government Act, the National Development Planning (System) Act, the Local Government Service Act and the Internal Audit Agency Act into one Local Government Bill and will soon be holding stakeholder consultations on the new provisions in the Consolidated Bill.

The Member of Parliament for the area, Professor Ekumfi Ameyaw, called on the people to eschew the habit of any form of tax invasion as such attitude will thwart the revenue generation efforts of the new assembly.

The Paramount Chief of the area, Oseadeayo Ameyaw Ekumfi, asked the new assembly members to work in unity devoid of partisan politics. He announced the readiness of the traditional council to provide land for the assembly for the development of office and residential facilities as well as for investment.

In the Ashanti Region, the chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Mr P.V. Obeng, inaugurated the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly, which was carved out of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.

In attendance were the Omanhene of the area, Nana Boakye Ansah Debrah, the Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Samuel Sarpong, assembly members, opinion leaders and other chiefs from the area.

The new Asokore Mampong municipality is made up of communities such as the Asokore Mampong township, Sawaba, and Adukrom.

The inauguration was not without incident as the police had to be called in to restore order as four communities – Duase, Aperade, Dote and Kentinkrono – who claimed they were supposed to be part of the new municipality, protested at the removal of the names from the new assembly.

Mr Obeng explained at the inauguration that the new municipality was to deepen the decentralization programme and was confident that the area would see accelerated development.

For his part, Nana Ansah Debrah, the Asokore Mamponghene, commended the government for creating the municipality and pledged that nananom would cooperate with the municipal authorities to bring the expected development to the area.

In the Central Region, the chiefs and people of the Ekumfi Traditional Area went gay when their new District Assembly was inaugurated at a colorful durbar at its capital, Ekumfi Essakyir.

The people responded with three happy cheers as soon as the Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa-Doe declared it duly inaugurated after reading the presidents’ inaugural address.

The Acting President of the Ekumfi Traditional Council, Nana Impraim, who chaired the function, commended the government for creating the new district for the chiefs and people of the area to improve their living conditions.

Two other assemblies were simultaneously inaugurated at Hemang Lower Denkyira with its Capital at Hemang and that of Awutu Senya East Municipality with Kasoa as its Capital.

The chiefs and people of the newly created Asante-Akim North District welcome the newly created district with pomp and pageantry.

While the chiefs led by Nana Akuoko-Sarpong, who is also a member of Council of State, were dressed in full regalia, the people danced to brass band music in appreciation of what the government had done for them

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah inaugurated the new district on behalf of the president.

With the inauguration of the newly created Kpone–Katamanso District Assembly the Tema Metropolitan Assembly will lose 25 of its Assembly members to the new assembly.

The Assembly of the new Kpone- Katamanso District will therefore have 18 elected and seven government appointed members.

The Minister for Environment , Science and Technology , Madam Sherry Ayittey who read the President’s inaugural address, called on members of the new Assembly to work hard to meet the aspirations of the people.

The Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive Mr Kempes Ofosuware in welcoming the new district, noted that it is ‘the third born’ of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly since 2008 when the Ashaiman and the Adentan Municipalities were created.

Mr Ofosuware stated that in fulfillment of this LI, the Tema Assembly had put aside Gh¢50,000 for the new Assembly for use on some of its initial needs .

He said in terms of logistics, the Tema Metropolitan Assembly had allocated eight vehicles including pickups, mini vans a 4×4 Ford Cross Country vehicle and a motor bike to the new district..

The Kpone Paramount Chief, Nii Tetteh Otu who chaired the inaugural ceremony thanked the President for the honour done them and appealed to the people to unite and educate the people to exercise their tax obligations to raise revenue to develop the area.

The inauguration of the six newly created district assemblies in the Northern Region was nearly disrupted by a heavy rainstorm in some parts of the region resulting in the late start of the ceremonies in some of the districts.

At the inaugural ceremony at Sagnarigu near Tamale, Foreign Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni who delivered the President’s address said a District Resourcing Programme was being worked out within the framework of the recently launched Public-Private partnership strategy to provide each district assembly with an office block, an assembly hall, bungalows for District Chief Executives and Coordinating Directors among others.

The Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive, Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday entreated the assembly members of the new Sagnarigu district to bring their expertise to bear on deliberations in the House when it starts sitting.

He announced that the Sagnarigu traditional authority had released 100 acres of land for infrastructural development.

In the Eastern Region. one of the newly created districts, Ayensuano, carved out of the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar District, was inaugurated by the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Victor E. Smith.

A 39-assembly members of the area were also sworn into office by the Suhum Magistrate Court judge, Mrs Naomi Akyiano, who administered the oaths of office and secrecy to the members.

A new presiding member, Mr James Kennedy Abubah, a retired educationist, was elected by the assembly members.

The event attracted a large gathering of people from the area including the Chief Executive for the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar District and the New Juaben Municipality, Messrs Samuel F. Kwabi, and Alex Asamoah, traditional and opinion leaders and residents.

Source: Daily Graphic

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