Awutu-Obrachire (C/R), May 12, GNA - Participants at a forum to mark the 5th Constitution Week in the Awutu-Effutu-Senya District of the Central Region, have advocated total overhauling of the District Assembly concept to meet the aspirations of the people. They blamed the failure of the concept on the abysmal performance of most assembly members who, they contended, lacked a high sense of vision and focus, as well as adequate knowledge about the system. The Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Directorate of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) organized the forum at Awutu-Obrachire.
Chiefs, opinion leaders, teachers, clergymen, farmers, students, assembly members and traders defied a heavy downpour to attend the function, which was presided over by Nai Kwao Otuo V, 1994 National Second Best Farmer and a member of the Awutu Traditional Council. According to the participants, even though the system was a good one, it could not fulfil the wishes of the people, especially the rural dwellers, if the machinery for its operation was not refocused to inject the required dynamism in the operators.
They expressed regret that presently most District, Municipal, and Metropolitan Assemblies had been turned into a mere "talking shops", adding that majority of the assembly members were only interested in the collection of sitting allowances and not the work involved.
A section of the participants, including a pastor and some students of the Obrachire Junior Secondary School also suggested to Parliament to enact a law that would make it an offence for cinema operators and private newspaper publishers to screen or publish pornographic films in cinema houses and private newspapers.
This is because such pictures promote promiscuity and indiscipline among the people, particularly the youth.
They further called for the promulgation of a law to prevent the celebration of expensive funerals to enable parents conserves enough funds to cater for their children's education.
Speaking on the "Role and Duties of Assembly Members and Unit Committees Towards Poverty Reduction", Mr Ambrose Entsiwah (Junior), Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Co-ordinator of the National Service Secretariat (NSS), charged assembly members to sensitise the people in their electoral areas who had benefited from the poverty alleviation scheme to repay the loans.
Mr Entsiwah reminded members of the various District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies that it was their duty to assist their respective assemblies to collect loans granted to individuals and groups under the Poverty Alleviation Scheme.
He reiterated the need for assembly members to avoid partisan consideration when dealing with issues affecting the development of their communities to ensure effective collaboration for rapid development.
They should attach similar non-partisan spirit to the disbursement of funds when it comes to registering the people for financial assistance from the Government through the various MICRO CREDIT interventions.
Mr Entsiwah asked assembly members to be proactive in their planning and implementation of development projects to attract sustained confidence of the electorate.
He advised assembly members to be fully abreast with matters of national and community concern, adding that they must be knowledgeable about issues of their people so as to help them secure better and lasting solutions to them.
Mr E. T. Mensah, Awutu-Effutu-Senya District Director of the NCCE, sensitised the participants on their constitutional rights and responsibilities and urged the assembly and unit committee members in the district to assist in educating people in the area on the various aspects of the Constitution, especially on issues dealing with children and women's rights.
He said assembly and unit committee members should work towards a common goal and should therefore not encourage any rivalry among them. On the poverty alleviation fund, Mr Mensah advised people in the district wishing to solicit for financial support from the scheme to form co-operative societies to enable them to qualify for adequate financial assistance from the scheme.
Mr Mensah appealed to traditional authorities in the area to strive to abolish customs and traditions that undermine the rights of children and women to enable them to exercise their full constitutional rights responsibilities without any hindrance.
Nai Kwao Otuo, in his closing remarks assured officials of the NCCE and other decentralized departments and agencies in the district of the full co-operation and support of chiefs in the Awutu Traditional Area, to enhance their operations.