The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Julius Debrah, has urged Ghanaian citizens to show serious interest in the governance of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in order to ensure that Chief Executives and Assembly Members are doing what is expected of them.
According to him, when citizens show disinterest in matters of local governance, MMDA officials sometimes take advantage of that vacuum to fleece the entire Assembly of the limited resources provided by government and perhaps donors, thereby denying them of the needed development they seriously yearn for.
He cited an instance in an unnamed district somewhere in the country where citizens did not care about how monies from central government and the Assembly’s internally generated funds were expended. According to him, Assembly Members and the Chief Executive took advantage of the lackadaisical attitude of the citizens and dissipated resources of the Assembly during meetings.
“The Assembly Members will come for meetings and write their names, say the opening prayer and close. The next day, they’ll meet and read the minutes of the last meeting and close. On the third day, they’ll discuss agenda one and close. This will continue till Friday when they’ll finally meet and say the closing prayer. And so if a day’s sitting allowance is for instance GH¢50.00 or GH¢100.00, multiply that by 5days”, he cited.
Mr. Debrah who made this statement while on a working visit to the East and West Mamprusi District Assemblies in the Northern Region of Ghana, asked citizens to follow with keen interest budget debates and other discussions concerning the development of their districts.
The visit by the Minister also formed part of his plans to pay courtesy calls on the King of the Mamprugu Kingdom Nayiri Naa-Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga and the Paramount Chief of Wungu Traditional Area Wungu Naba Alhaji Sulemana Saaka.
Led by the Northern Regional Minister Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, Mr. Debrah cajoled the Nayiri and his council of chiefs to encourage their people to come out in their teeming numbers come February 7 to support the fourth National Sanitation Day scheduled to be marked in the region and all its 26 MMDAs.
Alhaji Limuna on his part also appealed to the Nayiri and his people to endeavour to sustain the cleanup campaign after February 7 so as to reduce the Assemblies increasing expenditure on sanitation and its related issues and redirect resources into other underfunded areas of development in the districts.
The National Sanitation Day which is under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, is an initiative introduced as a result of the appalling insanitary conditions across the country resulting into loss of lives. The Northern which has its own portions of sanitation challenges is yet to find a strategic solution to the problem.
Earlier before his visit to the East and West Mamprusi Districts, Alhaji Limuna handed over fully furnished office apartments and a conference room to Mr. Debrah and his two Deputies Messrs Nii Lantey Vanderpuye and Omane Agyekum as well as other Directors from the Local Government Ministry who will be operating from the Northern Region throughout the whole of this week.
At the time of filing this story, Mr. Debrah had handed over ten thousand waste bins and other sanitary equipment to all the 26 MMDAs while he and his team en route to the Central Gonja, Bole, Sawla-Tuna-Kalba and West Gonja Districts in the Gonja Kingdom where they would spend at least two days there.
He would also inspect development projects under construction in these areas and hold meetings with staff of the Assemblies. Whilst in the Gonja Kingdom, he would also pay courtesy calls on the Bolewura, the Damongowura and the Yagbonwura Tuntumba Borese Sulemana Jakpa I, King of the Gonja Kingdom.
Meanwhile, in the same way, the two deputy ministers of the Local Government Ministry were also on their way to the Kpandai, Salaga, Saboba, Chereponi, Zabzugu and Tatale Districts for similar reasons.