The District Chief Executive for Nandom, Thaddeus Arkum Aasoglenang says after 30 years of popular participation through local governance, Ghana is being touted as one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa which has democratized participation at the grassroots.
He said the feat has been achieved as a result of the creation of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, (MMDAs) as well as their sub-structures and entrusting them to the ordinary citizens for control and management.
Mr. Aasoglenang said this when he delivered the Key note address at the Town Hall Meeting at the St. Theresas Minor Basilica in Nandom.
The event was jointly organized by the Wa Diocese of the Catholic Church, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Nandom District Assembly.
The DCE explained that as part of deepening local government administration and participation, the Nandom District Assembly has created the opportunity for citizens engagement through community and Town Hall meetings.
Mr. Aasoglenang said the rationale for such meetings was to bring local governance to the doorsteps of the people and also offer them the opportunity to contribute to the overall management of the district within the context the broader policies of President Akufo-Addo’s government.
He stressed that Article 35 (6) clause (5) (d) of the Directive Principles of State Policy of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, enjoins [leadership] the state take appropriate measures to make democracy a reality by decentralizing the administrative and financial machinery of government to the regions and districts and by affording all possible opportunities to the people to participate in decision making at every level in national life and in Government.
Mr. Aasoglenang explained that it is clear that citizens participation is constitutionally imperative and therefore, popular participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have the right to participate in the decision-making process.
He called on Ghanaians to be active citizens and participate in getting their communities and the country developed.
The DCE commended the Catholic Church for its efforts in organizing Town Hall Meetings in MMDAs) across the country to engage with citizens on their constitutional responsibilities as citizens and how to engage with duty bearers to initiate development at the local level.
The Coordinator for the Justice and Peace Commission, in the Wa Diocese, Reverend Fr. John Kuupiel, stated that active participation of citizens hinges the fact that development is viewed as communal and requires all persons to be actively involved in the process.
He continued that participation in local government ensures accountability, transparency and community development.
Rev. Fr. Kuupiel was very grateful to the Nandom District Assembly for the partnership in promoting inclusive engagement at the local level.
Story by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo & Stephen Kobom