General News of Sunday, 15 March 2015
The Deputy Local Government and Rural Development Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuye says his comments charging Ghanaians not to vote for poor assembly members were misunderstood and taken out of context.
Speaking at the launch of a programme targeted at empowering Civil Society and Non-Governmental Organizations to put in proposals to implement better development projects the deputy minister was reported to have said that Ghanaians should not vote for poor assembly aspirants.
“As a people we are not taking participation in the deepening of our democracy serious. The assembly is the basic unit of our development. So the people who constitute the assemblies should be of primary importance to us.
“If you choose poor people in the assembly you have poor planning and poor developmental agendas in your community,” Nii Lante Vanderpuye said during the launch.
His comments have been criticised by some sections of the public but the minister said the comments were misunderstood.
Clarifying his position in an interview with Myjoyonline.com, the minister said his reference to poor assembly members was not the literal meaning of a financially bankrupt person.
On the contrary, he said the phrase was in reference to people who are poor in appreciating issues about development and finance.
He said for a politician who grew up within a community said to be among the poorest in the country, there was no way he would make a comment to spite poor people.
“What I meant and said was that people should not vote people who have poor appreciation of policies and programmes on developments in their community and who cannot appreciate what the developmental agenda of the area is.
“There is the need for them to vote for people who can sit down with local authorities and other decision making people to evaluate the problems of their constituencies in order to have an informed opinions and informed choices as far as the developmental agenda of the areas are concerned,” he clarified.
He said policy making at the local level is so crucial to the developmental agenda of the country and called for more competent persons to be at the helm.
He chronicled the history of the local assembly where very learned and competent persons played key roles towards the development of the country, adding that should be the situation.