Local Government Must Revolve Around Chieftaincy
Some Civil Society Advocates in Volta Region said it is time the chieftaincy institution is brought from the margins to the centre of Ghana’s Local Government system.
They argued that the legislative crafted formal Local Government system must be made to revolve around the indigenous, naturally established and tested chieftaincy based local governance apparatus.
The call was prompted by a multimedia campaign dubbed “Citizens, Know Your Budget”, led by the Volta Region Media Network for Social Accountability.
The Advocates were participating in the radio discussions segment of the campaign with some technocrats of Municipal Assemblies in the region and by phoning-in to the discussions.
The campaign also involved the placing of stickers titled, “Citizens, Know Your Budget! Shine your eyes on the budget” in public places and public education by the Information Services Department.
The campaign under the auspices of the Social Accountability Unit of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) seeks to get about 70 percent of the population within the jurisdictions of the Assemblies to be interested in and be actively involved in the processes in preparing the Assemblies’ budgets which start from June every year to January the following year.
It is also to get the citizenry actively involved in monitoring the implementation of projects under those budgets.
The World Bank sponsored campaign under the Local Government Capacity Support Project (LGCSP) seeks to leverage citizenry engagement with urban-based Assemblies and their perceptions of urban management.
This is expected to stimulate the citizenry to demand an accountable, local government and service delivery as well as financial information from the Assemblies.
The Advocates for the centrality of the chieftaincy institution to the success of the local government system, argued that, chiefs were naturally and better placed to rally their people to identify their priority projects, have them incorporated into the composite budgets and follow up on projects being implemented under those budgets.
They referred to the effectiveness of chiefs as development agents, security and related governance figures in the pre-independence era.
Some of those who phoned in to the discussions said the impressions about Assemblies’ budgets were that they were technical issues better left to technocrats in the Assemblies to handle.
They suggested that the Assemblies should make conscious efforts to inform the public and communities when the time for preparing the budgets were drawing near and the roles they were expected to play towards the preparation of those budgets.
Some of them described the “Citizens, know your budget, shine your eyes on the budget” campaign as an important initiative which must be sustained.