A former Presiding Member of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Nana Kofi Senyah, has called on the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, to ensure that the provisions of the Local Government Act 936 are strictly implemented to the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
He said the adherence to the provisions of the Act would ensure that the non-partisan nature of the local government structure is not compromised.
The former Ashanti Regional chairman of the Presiding Members Association pointed to Section 4 (1) of the Local Government Act, Act 936, which enjoins the MMDAs to be a Corporate Body and ensure a Perpetual Succession in its existence, while Article 113 (2) mandates Parliament to review their term of office not to exceed one year.
He blamed the inefficient implementation of the decentralisation process on actions and inactions of past and present governments with the alleged connivance of legislators.
He cautioned the Regional Minister against appointing persons who do not qualify to the District Assemblies as appointees because such a move could compromise the non-partisan nature of District Assemblies and thus weakens the Local Government system.
According to him, Section 5 (d) of the Local Government Act enjoins the President to appoint 30% of the total membership of the Assembly in consultation with traditional authority and other interest groups to uphold the non-partisan nature of District Assemblies.
He noted, however, that the current administration through the various Regional Coordinating Councils headed by Regional Ministers, seeks to appoint party executives and ex-Presiding members as government appointees contrary to provisions of the law and against his own position that Ex-Presiding members are not eligible to be appointed to the Assemblies.
Nana Senyah has, therefore, cautioned the Minister not to contaminate the membership of Assemblies and thus oversee a corrupt local government system by appointing activists to the MMDAs.
The ex-Presiding member, in schooling the Regional minister, cautioned him to ensure an effective, transparent, probity and accountability in the MMDAs to avoid as corruption, lawlessness and disorder which have become commonplace in the local government structure.
The Local Government practitioner also referred to Section 6 (3) which states that “whenever a situation arises in which the Electoral Commission is unable to conduct a District Level, the President may appoint an Interim Management Committee to perform the functions of the Assembly until elections are conducted”.
He said the delay in the inauguration of District Assemblies after the District Level elections in December last year has created a vacuum and suggested that Section 6 (3) must be applied to ensure the integrity of the local government system.
The former KMA PM said vague as the law may seem, it is always superior to convention, yet the Local Government Ministry has often used convention to circumvent the law to suit their whims and caprices.