Mr Hamza Bawa Mahama, Programmes and Communication Advisor of People’s Dialogue a Community Based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has said community participation in local governance has not improved as expected despite existing public education efforts.
The situation, he said, was not the best since the country is about to move to a new dispensation of voting for Metropolitan, Municipal District Chiefs Executives (MMDAs) of the assemblies in September.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Chorkor during a Town Hall Forum, he said the People’s Dialogue was empowering communities with more information on the work and activities of the various districts such that they could hold the MMDAs accountable for their work.
It was an interactive forum created under the STAR GHANA’s sponsored local governance programme, led by People’s Dialogue, to allow community members to seek clarification on pertinent issues affecting them.
The forum, which brought together community-based organisations, such as Ghana Federation of Urban Poor, Precious Vessel of Virtue, Ghana Tailors and Dressmakers Association and the Janok Foundation, seeks to deepen grassroot participation in the electoral process.
Mr Mahama called on community members not to hesitate to expose substandard works executed by contractors in the communities and urged them not to compromise on quality to ensure the development of the community.
He called on the government to resource the assembly members to enable them to improve on consultations with their electorates at all stages of various projects in their areas.
Mr Alfred Asiedu Adjei, Presiding Member of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), who chaired the meeting, said it has helped to bring to the fore certain critical issues affecting the people and requiring the attention of duty bearers.
He said strengthening transparency to the assemblies to ensure they are accountable is important and commended the organisers for educating the people on the need for them to play their roles and responsibilities in national development.
“The development of Ghana is a shared responsibility of all citizens and we should all join hands on the need to participate in local governance”, he said.
Madam Jane Amerley Oku, Chief Executive Officer of the Janok Foundation, expressed worry about women’s representation in the district assembly level saying it has not been encouraging.
She called on government to expand and deepen the participation of women in the national processes and on issues affecting them.
Madam Oku called on women to be actively involved in this year’s voting of chief executives in their communities to deepen social accountability and local governance efforts.
Mr Reginald Botchway, a Social Development Officer of the Ablekuma Central Municipal Assembly, called for a review of some aspect of the District Assembly laws to ensure maximum protection of the people and to enable them vote on issues and not personalities in the September elections.