Refuse on the streets in Accra
Refuse on the streets in Accra

Parliament: What’s the matter with local government?

Accra embarrasses me to no end; very.

I squirm with shame when I hear of international conferences or events taking place in Accra (Ghana).

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When walking from the High Court complex to the Supreme Court precincts, I see tourists either walking to the Nkrumah Mausoleum, or returning from there, and looking around at the filth and disarray of the environment, my skin creeps with nervousness!

Over and over I ask myself these questions: Don’t the authorities see that Accra is full of filth and dirt?

 Why is there no person in charge of anything?

In seeking answers to these questions, I turn to Ghana’s Parliament.

Since ministers are appointed from Parliament, my thinking is that if their colleague ministers have problems with the management of their ministries, Parliament would summon them to the floor to be briefed, and to take questions and ideas from members.

Insanitary conditions along the J.E.A. Mills Highway, where the Nkrumah Mausoleum is located

Insanitary conditions along the J.E.A. Mills Highway, where the Nkrumah Mausoleum is located

As it is now, is Parliament saying they are pleased with, and accept, the current environmental degradation of Accra, and ipso facto, the rest of the towns in Ghana?

Parliament is enjoined to summon the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and demand an action plan from him to rid the city of filth and ugliness, and programme to clean up the streets.

Functions

The functions of the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development are stated in the Local Government Act, 1993 (Act 462).

In my opinion, the minister is about the most powerful person next to the President.

He is a de facto Prime Minister, because the entire nation is under his direct control: the regions and districts answer to him.

It is deducible that intelligence, imagination, resourcefulness and organisational acumen would be required of persons to function in the various offices of the ministry at regional and district levels.  

Since Accra, like Ashaiman, has been abandoned to filth and disorder, it implies there could be something radically wrong with the personnel appointed into offices of the ministry.

Section 20 of Act 462 stipulates that the District Chief Executives shall be appointed by the President.

 So it goes with the regional heads as well.

Who are those likely to be appointed by the President?

My opinion is that they would be members of the party, who might have contributed financially to its coffers, or might have organised supporters and votes for it in their respective constituencies.

So, in effect, the appointments are rewards!

Qualities

Does the party leadership look out for executive qualities such as proven competence, intellectual breath of knowledge, critical thinking, financial commonsense, vision, proactiveness, social skills, positiveness, self-confidence, imagination and so on?

I don’t know, but the situation on the ground entitles readers to form their opinion about the quality of persons appointed into the positions of Local Government by the President.

I think Parliament has their share of blame for the appalling situation in Accra, and the rest of the nation.

Is it the case that Members of Parliament are allocated what we hear of as “MP’s Common Fund”?

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 May I be corrected if I’m wrong.

I believe any such fund empowers MPs to complement whatever development programmes are undertaken by the regional/district chief executives.

I have been in the Tema West Constituency for over 20 years.

 Till date, I don’t know what projects were ever initiated by the MPs for Tema West: Naa Torshie (2016) and Carlos Ahenkora (2020), both of the NPP.

 Carlos Ahenkora is the incumbent.

What has he done with the MPs’ Common Fund for Tema West?

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The Speaker of Parliament owes Ghana a duty.

He must tell the nation how much is allocated to MPs for development of their constituencies to support the work of the DCEs.

What criteria are used to allocate funds? 

Who evaluates the proper use of the funds?

 Do MPs inform their constituencies of the availability of the funds and how best to be used?

Or do the MPs appropriate the funds for their personal use?

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The Minister of Local Government must tell the nation whether he is capable of ridding Accra of its filth and dirt, or whether he needs help to do it, and what form of help.

I just saw on GBC TV Sports Channel 4 that Accra might be hosting African Games in 2024.

Would the Games take place in the embarrassing, physical conditions that define Accra/Ghana presently? I end here.

The pictures tell a story.

The writer is a lawyer.

E-mail: [email protected]

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