District chief executives (DCEs) have acknowledged that the relationship existing between them and the Members of Parliament (MPs) has not been the best and have resolved to do away with all acrimonies for the betterment of Ghana.
They attributed the apparent rift and impasse between them to power struggle and suspicion between the MPs and DCEs and the neglect by government to take a second look at their remuneration.
The DCEs have, therefore, appealed to the government to consider giving them car loans such as was being done for Members of Parliament to facilitate their work.
The DCEs made the appeal at a meeting held in Accra on Tuesday between members of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development.
The meeting, which was organised by NALAG, was for the two groups to interact to forge a common ground to enhance the decentralisation process.
It was also to build upon the various experiences that each of the groups had acquired in Local Governance. It provided an opportunity for the Select Committee members to further build their capacity to enable them to make informed contributions to debates on the Floor of Parliament.
Earlier, the President of NALAG, Mr George Kyei Baffour, had made a presentation on “the Challenges of Decentralisation and attributed the series of conflict between MPs and DCEs to mistrust and power struggle over who was the 'powerhouse' in the district.
According to him, while the MPs were seen in cars bought from the loan acquired from Parliament and also retired with the car, the DCE did not have any car to go home with when he or she was out of office.
He said that did not augur well for the two most powerful people in the district, since one would be tempted to be egocentric and arrogant towards the other.
He, suggested that to resolve any conflict emanating from the mistrust, the government should take a second look at the remuneration of DCEs, and if possible raise a loan for them to buy their own cars.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee, Mr Isaac Edumadze, who chaired the function, stated that as part of the oversight responsibility of the committee in local governance, they were responsible for local governance and advocacy.
He pledged the committee's preparedness to assist NALAG to make the decentralisation system work.
Mr Edumadze commended NALAG for organising the meeting and proposed that it should be held regularly for all the DCEs and MPs to meet on a common platform and discuss issues of mutual benefit devoid of partisan politics.
NALAG is a national organisation and the mouthpiece of all local governments (District Assemblies) in Ghana.
It was created in 1962 as two separate associations; the National Association of Local Authorities and the Associations of City/Municipal Councils.
Following the restructuring of the system of local government in the country in 1988 by government, and in tune with international designation of local government, NALCO became NALAG.
It aims at promoting development of local government administration and decentralisation in Ghana through advocacy and lobbying.
Story by Timothy Gobah