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The utmost concern of the Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA) has been, and will always be, the prioritization of decentralization and local governance as a way of crystalizing democracy and deepening participation in governance. Against this background, it is the desire of the CLGA to see such a noble cause reflected in the manifestos of all political parties.

We are pleased to observe that some political parties have already released their manifestos, in particular, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP). Incidentally, we feel a little disappointed not to see vigour in those manifestos, where decentralization and local governance are concerned.

We would like to briefly comment on the MANIFESTOS of the ruling NDC AND PPP and appeal to them to beef up their plate with some suggestions that we are humbly, through this medium, offering. These concerns the following that the NDC intends to roll out:

1.The implementation of the National Decentralization Policy (NDAP)Framework II (2015-2019) and the National Action Plan II (2015-2019):

It is our humble opinion that, as a ruling government, the NDC should have concentrated on achieving the outstanding activities under the NDAP Framework and the accompanying Action Plan, due for implementation from 2017-2019. We were expecting concrete and/or categorical statements on this, with specifics on how they would prioritize decentralization and local governance after the expiration of the current framework in 2019.

2.The Constitutional Review Commission’s (CRC) Recommendation to pay allowances to Assembly Members:

On this the NDC, in its manifesto only promised to “initiate processes to implement the commission’s” recommendation on allowances to Assembly Members.

We view this promise as  non-committal and lacking the expected seriousness that needs to be attached to the work of the Assembly Members. Incidentally, the CRC recommendations have already been overtaken by a government white paper on the said recommendations.

3.The Election of MMDCEs

Eloquently promised in the manifesto is the CRC’s recommendation to have MMDCEs elected. The CLGA wants the NDC to come again! This promise in the manifesto seems to stand in marked offensive contrast to the earlier government white paper on the subject matter. The said white paper had rejected the CRC’s recommendation on the election of MMDCEs. The white paper had suggested a different formula altogether:

a.The appointment of five (5) potential MMDCEs by the President who would be subjected to competency interview and reviewed by the public services commission to prune the member to three (3). The three would then be presented to the District Assemblies for one to be selected as DCE.

Our (CLGA) stand has always been for MMDCEs to be elected by universal suffrage – popular participation. The NDC must come clean on this.

4.The property – addressing component of street naming or the property addressing project including Electronic mapping

In the case of the’ property addressing system’ the CLGA commends the party for this noble initiative since it has the potential of increasing property rates, revenue base of the assemblies support communities’ directions, expose criminals, help to quench fire and provide a good basis for supporting development of an Integrated National Identification System.

5.Modernization of District Markets

CLGA also commends the party for the promise to modernize major and local markets since it has the potential of improving local economic development and acting as a catalyst to promote business, reduce rural migration and create employment in the Districts.

6.The creation of New Regions

In NDC  promise of  ‘setting up a commission of enquiry’ to create five more regions, The CLGA is of the view that this promise is not specific and doesn’t commit the government enough to deliver on that promise .

The CLGA also takes note of the decentralization and local governance promise of the PPP on page 14 of their manisfesto on ‘sharing power with the people’ under which they promise to ensure the election of all MMDCEs and Assembly members. In view of the CLGA this is a good promise that if implemented will lead to deepening local level democracy. However the CLGA encourages the PPP to be very categorical in the mode of electing both the DCEs and assembly members.

The standard required mode needed to deepen local level democracy and popular participation is when they are elected by popular votes on universal adult suffrage basis. The PPP is also encouraged to review its manifesto to cover all aspect of the decentralization system which should look at fiscal and administrative decentralization.

The CLGA takes the opportunity to encourage the NPP and other political parties as matter of urgency, to release their party manifestos. We encourage them to make categorical, specific and more binding statements that are smart enough to deepen decentralization and local governance   in Ghana.

The CLGA will continue to do advocacy for improved and deeper decentralization and local governance. We will lead the charge together with other CSOs to hold potential parties accountable and responsible to implement any manifesto in the areas of decentralization and local governance after they win power in the 2017.

The CLGA would like to use this medium to call on Ghanaians to ensure peace before, during and after election 2016.

Dr. Vladimir Antwi Danso
Ag. Executive Director
 Dated: 19h September 2016

For further details on this press release please contact Dr. Vladimir Antwi Danso, Ag. Executive Director or Hon. Gladys Gillian Naadu Tetteh, Deputy Executive Director on telephone numbers 0244 613 282 and 0209427574 respectively

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