METROPOLITAN, Municipal and District Chief Executives are obliged to provide an interpreter for any assembly member who cannot speak English during assembly sittings, says a development consultant. Furthermore, the leaders of assemblies can be sued for non-compliance.
The consultant, Rosaline Baatuolkuu Obeng-Ofori, who spoke mainly in Twi, said at a forum here, “it is not compulsory that an assembly member must speak English during assembly proceedings.” She suggested that assembly members should “sue any chief executive or presiding member who insists on English being spoken by all.”
Mrs Obeng-Ofori was speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop organized here by Abantu for Development and the Centre for Sustainable Development. It had the theme, “Women, Leadership and Democratic Participation In the Political Process, Election 2006,” which aimed at strengthening and sharpening campaign strategies of aspiring assembly women for the forth coming District Assembly election.
The 42-participants are incumbent and aspiring assembly women drawn from the Berekum, Dormaa and Wenchi districts and Sunyani and Techiman municipalities.
Mrs Obeng-Ofori explained that every assembly member should be allowed to contribute in the language of his or her choice, adding “it is the only way that contributions would be effective.”
She also criticized the situation of some chief executives denying assembly women in particular membership of the sub-committee of the district assemblies.
“Every assembly member is supposed to belong to, at least, one of the six mandatory sub-committees, including Social Services, Works, Finance and Administration and Development Planning.
She noted that in most cases, DCEs refused to include women on the Works and Finance sub-committees because they are less qualified, but she argued that “the assembly concept is not about qualification but participation.”
Mrs Hamid Morrison, Senior Programme Officer for Abantu for Development touched on leadership and said “we want to present leaders with commitment where leadership will reflect in whatever you do in life.”
She urged the participants to vie for higher positions in the assemblies and not allow themselves to be intimidated by anyone.