One hundred and fifty –four (154) out of the 261 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country are operating without valid by-laws, a research has established.
The research found out that the I54 MMDAs had failed to publish and gazette their by-laws as required by Section 182 (4) of the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936), hence those by-laws are not recognised under the laws of the country and have no legal effect.
Dubbed the “Status of by-laws in Ghana,” the research was conducted by a Ghanaian online legal repository website, Dennislaw, in partnership with Corporate Secretarial and Training Services (CSTS).
What does the law says?
By-laws are laws made by MMDAs to regulate activities within their localities. They span across sanitation, business operations, construction of buildings, selling of food and even movement of animals.
Section 182 (4) of Act 936 stipulates that a by-law shall not have an effect until (a) “it has been posted on the premises of the assemblies of the district assembly concerned” and (b) “published in a daily newspaper of national circulation or in the gazette.”
According to the research, data collated from the Ghana Publishing Company Limited (Assembly Press) and newspapers, established that only 109 MMDAs had published their by-laws in conformity with Section 182 (4) of Act 936.
However, it found out that three of the 109 MMDAs- Kintampo, Assin Fosu and Mamprusi had had their areas of jurisdiction redefined and ,therefore, their by-laws could not be considered as valid since “no MMDAs currently exist under such names.’’
“Consequently, only 105 gazetted by-laws were identified and deemed to be valid, representing 106 MMDAs (one of the by-laws was found to be applicable in two MMDAs).
“By this finding, the study concludes that a total of 154 out of 261 MMDAs, representing 59 per cent of the various assemblies in Ghana are operating without legitimate and valid by-laws,” the research established.
One of the lead researchers of the research and a legal practitioner, Dennis Adjei Dwomoh, told the Daily Graphic that the findings were an indictment on the local governance and decentralisation system of the country.
According to him, failure to comply with Section 182 (4) of Act 936 was a clear indication that the 154 MMDAs had no legal basis to enforce those by-laws.
He said the local governance structure was meant to ensure people participation in governance and democratic process at the grassroot and such participations, he said, were normally achieved through regulations formulated by the people through their representatives at the MMDAs.
“This clearly defeats the purpose of local governance. If MMDAs are not fulfilling the requirements to make by-laws valid,then it means people’s opinions on what should govern them have not been actualised,” he said.