Presiding Member for Sunyani West District Assembly and Lead Advocate for the Assembly Members Common Fund initiative, Mr. Bernard Oduro Takyi has reiterated the strategic role Assembly Members play and the need for a fund.
In a recent interview on Happy FM’s “Epa Hoa Daben” current affairs show with host Kwame Afrifa Mensah, the Presiding Member stressed that Assembly members were the foundation of the local governance system and therefore critical that they are resourced like any other Officer of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and added that such measures will equip them to deliver their mandate adequately in accordance with Chapter 20 of the 1992 Constitution and the Local Governance Act, Act 936.
In the past weeks, Mr. Oduro Takyi and other Assembly Members have been on national radio and television stations explaining the rationale for their proposal. Their approach and advocacy seek to plead with the key Stakeholders in the Local Governance set up through to find a more sustainable way of empowering Assembly members to deliver on their mandate to their Electoral Areas.
In calling for this fund, the Assembly Members are not asking for a source of fund but a restructuring of the current 5% earmarked for Community Initiated Projects under the District Assemblies Common Fund. To ensure accountability and efficient use of state funds, a proposed financial framework with checks, balances and sanctions was mentioned as a step to ensure that funds are directed to the right plans and initiatives. Details of their proposal including usage, systems etc. are to be developed, deliberately and discussed with State officials responsible for local governance.
Commenting on the duties of an Assembly Member, Mr. Oduro-Takyi stressed that Assembly Members are the bedrock of national development. “A wise, experienced and professional Assembly Member with the right resources would be able to mobilize, initiate and ensure government policy and strategies are fully absorbed by their respectively communities. “We live, sleep, eat and drink in our local communities, we are the first point of call for any celebration or sorrow in our communities. Why can’t we then be conduit for policy success? It is an easy thing to do if the structures are enhanced”.
He commended the government’s commitment in ensuring that MMDCEs are elected and added that it was a bold step to ensuring grassroot accountability and transparency.
By: Timothy Kwakye Karikari