General News of Tuesday, 20 November 2018
A senior research fellow with the Institute of Democratic Governance, Sam Jonah has attributed the lackadaisical attitude of some citizens towards local governance to the absence of election of MMDCE’s.
According to him, the dwindling interest of Citizens in local governance is solely because MMDCE’s and DCE’s do not account to the citizens.
“When MMDCE’s are elected they will be more accountable and responsive to the people but as we have it at the moment whether the MMDCE’s is performing or not, you cannot sack him, his tenure does not depend upon you and sometimes the people do not even know who I appointed to become MMDCE or DCE” he said.
Mr. Jonah stressed the need for elections of MMDCE’s, adding that often times the central government delays the disbursement of common fund to the various assembly and even when they are disbursed they come along with “manual” on how the monies should be spent.
“Sometimes by the time the common fund gets to the local assembly the central government may have deducted some money from it, unfortunately because it was the President who appointed the MMDCE’s they say nothing” he said
Mr. Jonah also stated that the Common Fund comes with a formula from the Ministry of Local Government on how the money should be used.
“The current formula dictate what the assembly should use the money for, it compels assemblies to use 20% on school feeding, 20% on planting for Food and Jobs by the time you are done there little or less left” he noted
On his part, the District Chief Executive of Ellembelle, Kwasi Bonzoh said, the notion that the rich and affluent will always have their way when MMDCE’s are made to be voted for is rather unfortunate.
According to him, electorates are very discerning people who know what they want and cannot be easily persuaded .
“I have gone through two elections and I know that when it comes to elections the electorates know exactly what they want so it’s your ability to project yourself and your candidature to them” he said.
Addressing the issue of money influence in elections, the DCE said, money has and will always be a factor in elections.
“ Democracy is always expensive, even in advance countries, you release that the candidate who are able to rise a lot of money are the ones that make the impact but that notwithstanding I have been to two elections and when it comes to elections the electorates knows exactly what they want “he noted.
Kwasi Bonzoh said, money is needed to run politics but the opening up for the election of MMDCE’s will further deepen democracy adding that “elections of MMDCE’s will go a long way to deepen democracy in the local level”
Kwasi Bonzoh and Sam Jonah were speaking at the experience sharing forum with MMDCE’s on the theme “Promoting citizen’s engagement and participation in local governance in Ghana” in Accra.