The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Julius Debrah in his quest to get more competent, knowledgeable and hardworking people into the various district assemblies, is currently leading a weeklong crusade in the 26 districts of the Northern Region to encourage eligible voters to fully partake in the upcoming 2015 District Level Election.
The Minister is particularly worried about the calibre of people being elected as assembly members into the various district assemblies across Ghana in recent years, whom in his observation seemed to lack the nerve to demand for accountability from their District Chief Executives or contribute meaningfully to the development of their communities.
It is an open secret that several of the assembly members in the Northern Regions and for that matter Ghana are either not educated at all or are not well educated as compared to previous years when almost all assembly members were Technocrats with commitment and in-depth knowledge about local governance as well as social and economic issues.
Majority of them have become partisan and self-seeking assembly members who are only interested in satisfying themselves and their families to the neglect of their communities. This growing attitude has therefore discouraged most Ghanaian voters from participating in the district level election leading to very low voter turnout at the various polling stations in the last few years.
However, the Local Government Minister, Mr Julius Debrah who is in the Northern Region to officially launch the National Sanitation Day initiated by the ruling government, is calling for a complete reverse of the situation. He emphasized the need for the voters to come out in their numbers March 3rd 2015 to choose “people of substance” who could diligently and selflessly serve their interest.
“The world is changing. Even though we have some good assembly members, I think that if the general public takes interest in the elections we will be able to scrutinize and elect competent people to represent them in the assemblies. It is not only about educational qualification but it is about getting people of substance. People who really understand that this is a voluntary work, people who really understand that they are serving the people and not the type who want to lord themselves over the people”.
Mr Debrah indicated that his Ministry had taken the lead or the interest to drum home the need to increase the voter turnout and also elect more competent people in the upcoming district level election, because the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry was the direct beneficiary of the election, even though it is organized by the Electoral Commission.
According to him, the government was putting in place measures to resource, remunerate and motivate assembly members and also draw a well cut out plan with the Finance Ministry for their end of service benefit.
Mr Debrah therefore appealed to the traditional authorities, the district assemblies, the media and the National Commission for Civic Education to join the Electoral Commission and other partners to effectively encourage the public to understand the importance of the upcoming district level election.
Mr Julius Debrah together with his two deputy ministers, chief director and other key staff has been allocated an office by the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Lemuna for his one week stay in the region.
He is paying courtesy calls on the prominent chiefs, imams and clergies and as well inspecting government projects and interacting with heads of departments and agencies.