A workshop to build the capacity of national and district level stakeholders in promoting public participation in local governance using effective social accountability tools opened in Tamale on Monday.
The five-day workshop is organized by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in collaboration with the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) under the theme: “Promoting Social Accountability through Citizen Participation in Local Governance.”
The first day’s session of the workshop was attended by journalists drawn from Northern and Upper East Regions whilst Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives, elected assembly and unit committee members, traditional authorities, opinion leaders, women and youth groups, persons living with disability, activists of political parties will take their turns in the subsequent days.
The workshop is funded by the European Union under the support for Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development Actions in Ghana, which seeks to assess the extent to which citizens participate and engage with the current local governance system and structures.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Mr Paul Osei-Kuffour, Programmes Manager of CDD-Ghana Northern Office, said a study conducted by CDD-Ghana last year revealed that knowledge about the developments at the district assemblies was weak amongst the citizenry.
Mr Osei-Kuffour said the country should be looking at electing District Chief Executives (DCEs) and put in place checks and balances to address any fall-out in terms of such DCEs working against the ruling government.
He said electing DCEs would ensure effective decentralization at the local level necessary to engender enthusiasm in terms of participation of the local people in the administration of the district.
He also spoke about the creation of new district assemblies, saying, even though it had cost implications, it also brought governance to the doorsteps of the people and thereby strengthening decentralization.
Mr Richard Kambootah, Director of Northern Sector Campus of ILGS, called on district assemblies to uphold social accountability as it ensured empowerment, effectiveness and good governance.