The Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, has reiterated the need for the citizenry to be engaged and sensitized on the roles of Members of Parliament (MPs) in national development.
In a speech read on his behalf, he said there was a public misconception about the mandates of MPs, saying; “not many constituents and voters are aware of the actual roles of MPs of which they are seen as initiators of constituency and district level development projects, a role which is not defined by law”.
He made the remarks at a town hall meeting, organised by the Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Tamale, at Nanton, in the Northern Region.
It was on the theme; “Role of parliament, local authorities and participatory governance for community development”.
The meeting sought to provide platform for parliamentary candidates and community members in the Nanton constituency to deliberate on development issues of community concern, while addressing the misconception that development projects were responsibilities of MPs.
The Most Reverend Naameh noted that MPs were mandated to represent, bring the needs of their people on parliamentary debates, participate in legislation for the benefit of their constituents and lobby government for development projects in their areas.
“Development projects are the sole responsibilities of District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies and the central government and these institutions rather than the MPs, need to be empowered to deliver these projects in the constituencies to enable the MPs to focus on their constitutionally assigned roles”, he indicated.
He said community dialogues were needed to ensure clear understanding regarding the mandates of Parliamentarians and local authorities in community development agenda to create an integrated and inclusive discourse in local areas.
“To stimulate and encourage active and wider consultations on this matter, it is important that the public is engaged, educated and sensitised regarding the role of MPs in national and community development”, he added.
The Archbishop advised the people to ensure peace before, during and after the upcoming general elections.
“As we mark another period of elections of our political leaders, permit me to urge all of us to uphold and defend peace by ensuring that the elections go on successfully. I have no doubt that as a people, we would rise up to the occasion to ensure peace and tranquility before, during and after the elections”.
Parliamentary candidates’ representatives and community members present at the meeting took turns to pledge their commitments to ensure peace and stability before, during and after the elections.