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02.11.2005 General News

CDD organizes roundtable discussion

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Kumasi, Nov 2, GNA - Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies have been asked to take note of the Ghanaian public's endorsement of the transparent and relatively serious manner in which Parliament conducted its most recent ministerial vetting and implement procedure for vetting nominees for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief executives.

Prof Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), said it would be an important step towards achieving effective functioning of the local government system, strengthening decentralization, good local governance and democracy. Speaking at a Roundtable Discussion in Kumasi on Tuesday, he said the Metropolitan, Municipal or District Chief executive was a key position in the country's system of decentralized local government. "Under both the country's constitutional and legal framework, the M/DCE was entrusted with wide political and administrative authority over governance at the local level".

The Roundtable had as its theme, "Strengthening the Approval Process for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives - The Role of Vetting".

Prof Gyimah-Boadi said as the chief political representative of the President and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the assembly, the M/DCE wielded enormous power over the public purse and was expected to be the primary driver of government policy for achieving good governance, wealth creation, poverty reduction and overall development of the district and therefore the country at large.

"Also as an officer appointed to the high office of M/DCE, he or she is expected to wield his power with fairness and restraint in accordance with due process and in order to serve the public good". In essence therefore, he said, the success or failure of the M/DCE could mean the progress, stagnation or retrogression of a district, municipality or metropolis.

Prof Gyimah-Boadi said, therefore the matter of making the M/DCE fully accountable to the people or the public and to taxpayers under his or her jurisdiction was of paramount importance.

Mr Kwabena Appiah-Pinkra, the Member of Parliament for Akrofuom, said Parliament was the only body that could make laws to review the positions and functions of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief executives.

During an open forum the participants suggested that since the vetting of Municipal and District Chief Executives was important, the decision to make any changes should be decided by the people or the electorate in accordance with the constitution.