Assembly Membersâ€™ Project Kick-starts
A project dubbed "Ghana Must Employ Assembly Members", has been initiated across the country to bring about constitutional reforms in Ghana's decentralisation system.
Campaigners of the project are advocating for a review of the Local Government Act 462 to ensure that Assembly Members are paid monthly salaries to enable them to discharge their constitutionally mandated duties.
The Foundation for Female Photo Journalists, which is spear-heading this national crusade, argues that payment of salaries and other remunerations of Assembly Members throughout the country from the consolidated fund, will go a long way to addressing the numerous challenges confronting Assembly Members in the course of performing their duties.
At a day's workshop organised for media practitioners by the foundation in Tamale, the Resident Director of the Tamale Campus of the Institute of Local Government Studies, Callistus Mahama, said the lack of motivation and incentive for Assembly Members had drastically affected the quality of debate at the District Assemblies' general meetings.
Dr Mahama explained that due to the sacrificial nature of the job of the assembly member, people of high academic standing do not aspire to enter into it.
According to him, Assembly Members form the 'Local Parliament' and therefore stressed the need for them to be well resourced, adding that even though the reason why the assembly member was inculcated into the district assembly system was to encourage patriotism and voluntarism.
Dr Mahama however, suggested that for the government to address the challenges, it would be prudent to "cut down" the sub-structures of the District Assemblies, which he said, are too large, in order to make them manageably.
The Communication, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Foundation, Diana Oppong, noted that a study her outfit undertook identified the short-comings of the Assembly Members, which she claimed, had derailed development in their respective districts.
According to her, the media dialogue was meant to serve as a platform for editors, programme managers, reporters, among others, to formulate strategies to advocate an effective local governance system as well as actively campaign on payment of Assembly Members.
The Foundation for Female Photo Journalists is a women's media organisation using information communication as a tool for development. They initiate an engagement process that will empower people to articulate issues affecting the political process at the local governance level.