The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has observed that many assembly members, both appointed and elected, were not performing their expected duties as they were either ignorant of their functions or do not understand them.
The Central Regional Director of the NCCE, Nicolas Ofori Boateng who made the observation, said the situation had influenced voter turnout at district level elections over the past years, as the electorates had lost confidence or felt betrayed by the assembly members.
Mr. Boateng who was speaking at a focus group discussion on the “Post 2015 District Level Elections”, organized by the NCCE with support from the European Union, to refresh the minds of participants on the country’s decentralization concept, stressed that the issue was detrimental to the decentralization process of the country.
The forum, which brought together chiefs, assembly and unit committee members and other opinion leaders, formed part of NCCE’s lined up activities to enhance public awareness on the concept of the Local Governance System in the country.
The NCCE Director express regret that most assembly members did not understand their roles and responsibilities as spelt out in the Constitution and questioned how they could contribute meaningfully towards the developmental aspirations of their communities.
He said though it was the duty of assembly members to maintain close contact with the electoral areas, consult their people on projects and meet the electorates before and after each assembly meeting, majority of them had failed to do so.
Mr. Boateng urged stakeholders in the local government system to avoid all forms of internal wrangling and work together to accelerate the development of communities and districts.
He criticized the apathy shown by some Ghanaians towards communal labour and other activities of the Metro, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) and urged them to support the assemblies to ensure that the purpose of the decentralization process was achieved.
At a similar programme held at Abakah Nkwanta in the Hemang Lower Denkyira District, Mr. Boateng advised Ghanaians to desist from making unnecessary demands from assembly members since their work was voluntary.
He also called on Ghanaians to elect patriotic people as assembly members and explained that committed assembly members would be in a better position to ensure effective planning and implementation of issues that would reflect the interest of the people.
The fora also offered assembly and unit committee members the opportunity to discuss their functions and duties as well as their challenges with stakeholders present.
They bemoaned unrealistic demands by some electorates, coupled with low revenue mobilization in their electoral areas as well as over dependency on the assembly common fund, which was impacting negatively on their work.
Some of the participants advocated that assembly and unit committee members be resourced to enable them perform their duties effectively.