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Empower Assembly Members for active citizen participation


  24 Mai      19        Politique (6468), Société (13182),

   

Tamale, May 24, GNA – Participants at a policy dialogue on participatory governance have expressed the need to empower Assembly Members to better perform their roles to promote active citizen participation in the affairs of district assemblies to promote effective social accountability regime.

They argued that empowered Assembly Members would better appreciate issues discussed at the Assembly-level and effectively relay them to their people since they were the conduits through which developments at the Assemblies were conveyed to the people and vice-versa.

This formed part of suggestions made by participants drawn from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Northern Regional Coordinating Council, and some District Chief Executives/District Coordinating Directors, Civil Society Organizations and the Media at a policy dialogue on participatory governance in Tamale.

The policy dialogue was to take stock and share experiences, challenges, prospects and recommendations towards the effective implementation of the National Popular Participation Framework (NPPF) at the local level as well as raise awareness on the NPPF among various stakeholders and enhance public officials and stakeholders’ responsiveness to the implementation of the NPPF.

It was organised by Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) as part of its Strengthening Social Accountability through Citizens Participation in Local Governance in Ghana project with funding from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.

The project, which is being implemented in 20 districts, seeks to strengthen platforms, enforce regulations and best practices on participatory governance within the decentralized planning and budgeting process of the Assemblies.

Four years into the implementation of the project, it has been observed that the project has revived activities on popular participation in most of the beneficiary Assemblies.
Notwithstanding the progress made, resource commitment from Assemblies to the process has been minimal posing a challenge while monitoring mechanisms for the district popular participation action plan remain weak.

Other participants impressed on the citizenry to take advantage of town hall meetings to make their voices heard with regard to decision-making by their Assemblies instead of demanding per diems before partaking in such forum.

Mr Paul Osei-Kuffour, Team Leader, CDD-Ghana Northern Office, said there was need to step up on the monitoring and evaluation frameworks, adding government must consider the inclusion of the district popular participation action plan as part of the indicator for the District Performance Assessment Tools (DPAT) and the performance contracts of Assemblies under the section on Accountability and Citizens participation.

Mr Osei-Kuffour said this might help provide the relevant incentives and sanctions on popular participation.

Mr Eli Kuadey, Senior Development Planning Officer, MLGRD, who represented the Director of the Social Accountability Unit of the MLGRD, said government had initiated legal frameworks and policies to promote popular participation adding “Through the DPAT, Assemblies have embraced the need to reach out to citizens in the spirit of inclusivity, participation, transparency and accountability”.

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