Accra, May 7, GNA-Mr Nat Nunoo Amarteifio, former Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, on Friday condemned government's interference with operational directives of the local government systems.
He said: "The open interference contravenes and defeats the decentralization system, weakens the authority of the Chief Executives of the District and Metropolitan Assemblies and have the potential of bringing the decentralized authority into public ridicule." Mr Amarteifio was speaking at forum organized by the Accra Metro Office of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), under the theme: "Reducing Poverty Through Citizens Participation in Local Governance."
It forms part of activities marking the Fifth Annual National Constitution Week celebration, which has also been dedicated to the broadening of the principles of participatory democracy. Mr. Amarteifio said the government's directives for the suspension of the decongestion exercises could affect the operations of the various District and Metropolitan assemblies, which took the bold step to embark on the exercise.
He said the district assembly is mandated by the 1992 Constitution, to exercise the functions of government through the decentralized public administration and local government system.
Mr Amartefio said they could exercises deliberative, legislative and executive functions at the district level and, therefore, unattainable for the government to interfere with administrative and operational directives of any assembly.
He, however, noted: "it is very difficulty for the assemblies to operate in the major cities, especially in Accra, without political influences on decisions they take."
Members of Parliament, government functionaries, Ministers of States, Vice President or President, ruling Party Executives and even Diplomats one way or the other interferes behind the scene." He said the decongestion of the major cities was an albatross cord around the neck of the Chief Executives and that if they failed to embark on the exercise, people and the government would judge and condemned them, but when they attempted to do so they stepped on the toes of political powers that be.
The NCCE, main organisers of the annual event, explained that the essence of citizens' participation in local governance was to overcome challenges of poverty, enhance democratic governance and create public awareness.
Other speakers include Mr Eric Bortey, Accra Metro Director of NCCE who spoke on "the structures and workings of Local Government System," and Mr Akuamuah Boateng, East Ayawaso Sub-Metro Chairman, who spoke on "the district assembly concept as a stimulant to local development initiative-An assembly member's views."