A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) for local government reforms is to embark on a nationwide regional level consultation in all 16 regions with identifiable stakeholders on the ongoing discourse on local government reforms.
This is to help gain additional insight from the various groups about their perspectives, interests and position to derive possible proposals for policy consideration.
The collated views will be documented and used for advocacy and also, to prepare policy advice to the government through the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development (MLGDRD) to inform policy decisions on the subject.
The regional consultations that began yesterday, November 22, 2021 and ends on December 10, 2021 will engage traditional leaders, political parties, the media and community-based organisations (CBOs), assembly men and women and local bureaucracy.
The initiative through the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Electoral Support Activity, is being supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Speaking at the launch of the coalition in Accra yesterday, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the CDD-Ghana, Dr Kojo Asante, a member of the coalition's steering committee, explained that the nationwide consultation was to arrive at a broad-based consensus which was a prerequisite to execute the local government reforms.
He noted that the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives ( MMDCEs) was the solution to the non-performance of the country's local governance system.
He however noted that the election of MMDCEs should be done together with the needed complementary reforms to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of the system.
Dr. Asante said the election of the MMDCEs by the people, whether it was on a partisan basis or not, was not an issue but there was a need for a broad concensus to reform the system to be more responsive to the development demands.
He said after almost three decades of practising the local government system, there was the need to redesign the current system to achieve better results.
He said the nationwide consultations would help to reset the agenda for the election of MMDCEs and advocate comprehensive local government reforms.
"As a coalition, we aim to arrive at a broad-based consensus as a prerequisite to executing the local government reforms successfully", he stated.
Low representation of women
A representative of ABANTU for Development, Ms. Hamida Harrison said the lack of representation of women in local government had contributed to the dysfunctional nature of the institution.
She added that after over 30 years since the creation of the local government institution by the Constitution, women had never been able to attain the United Nations (UN) recommended threshold of 30 per cent.
“It has often hovered around 10 to 12 per cent which makes it dysfunctional for most women who make up majority of people in these areas as census has shown once again,” she said.
Ms. Harrison, therefore, called on the government to introduce additional measures and mechanisms that would help promote women in local government.