Graphic Online

Graphic Online 

‘Engage constituents to whip up interest in local governance'

BY: Gilbert Mawuli Agbey
Kwamena Duncan — Central Regional Minister
Kwamena Duncan — Central Regional Minister

The Assembly Member for the Obra Wogum/Donkokyianmu Electoral Area in the Effutu Municipality in the Central Region, Mr Nathaniel Papa Akyeampong, has called on assembly members to regularly engage their constituents on activities of their respective district assemblies to whip up their interest in the local governance system.

Such a move, he said, would enable the electorate to take the district assembly concept seriously and offer the needed support towards deepening the decentralisation process.

He stated that there was the need for assembly members to organise periodic engagements to listen to the concerns of the people, and further inform and educate them on policies and programmes being put in place by the assembly to address their basic needs.

Community forum

Mr Akyeampong was speaking to the Daily Graphic at a day’s public engagement forum he organised in his electoral area to interact and collate the concerns and views of the people for redress by the district assembly through the assembly member.

The engagement brought together stakeholders such as teachers, traders, market women, artisans, among others, who took turns to voice their concerns about the administration of the area.

Assembly meetings

Mr Akyeampong indicated that the assembly members must always ensure that the local people were abreast of the decisions taken during the districts assembly meetings since such decisions would largely affect them positively or negatively.

‘‘The inability of assembly members to create a mutually beneficial relationship with the local people had contributed to the apathetic posture of the local people towards the decentralisation process’’ he pointed out. He stressed: ‘‘in order for the constituents to take keen interest in the administration at the local level, it is important for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and the various district assemblies to adequately resource assembly members to engage the local people quarterly to bring governance closer to them’’.

He explained that if the people realised their contributions were relevant in the administration of their communities, they would always offer the necessary support towards the growth and development of the various electoral areas.

Ending open defecation

The assembly member told the gathering that one of the visions of Mr Kwamena Duncan, the Central Regional Minister, was to bring to an end open defecation in the entire region and, therefore, called on the residents to support such a worthy cause by constructing household latrines to reduce pressure on public toilets.

He added that in order for the municipality to get rid of sanitationrelated diseases, it was incumbent upon residents to keep their immediate surroundings clean to augment the efforts of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Department.

He used the forum to appeal to the electorate to be very supportive in the governance of the area since governance was a collective responsibility, saying ‘‘you cannot look on unconcerned since the progress or otherwise of this electoral area is largely dependent on you’’.

Touching on his achievements so far, he noted that he had led some petty traders to access loans from banks, sought employment for some youth and mobilised resources towards the construction of a 50-metre drain in the area.

Concerns

Some of the residents raised concern about how the taxes they paid locally, as well as the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) allocated to the assembly were used since such funds could have addressed some pertinent issues which had bedevilled them for many years.

In his response, the assembly member indicated that development was a process and that the assembly was gradually using such funds to tackle the myriad of challenges confronting the area and the municipality as a whole.