Municipal and district assemblies in the Upper West Region have pledged to make relevant and timely information available to citizens in their jurisdiction as parts of efforts to enhance the participation of the citizenry in local governance.
Speaking at stakeholders’ dialogue organized by Media Foundation for West Africa, (MFWA) at Wa some of District Chief Executives said making timely and relevant information available to the citizenry will enhance demand for accountability and transparency which are key ingredients for democracy.
Radio Ghana’s Correspondent, Sualah Abdul-wahab reports that the dialogue attracted key players including representatives of religious leaders, faith based organizations, non-governmental organization, journalists and selected heads of municipal and district assemblies.
The dialogue served as a platform for implementers of local governance program in selected districts of the region to assess their performance, identify challenges and plan the way forward for a successful implementation.
Media Foundation for West Africa in collaboration with five municipal and district assemblies in the region and five radio stations is implementing a program to improve social accountability.
It is Dubbed “Enhancing Public Participation and Demand for Accountability in Local Governance in Ghana”.
The implementing districts are Wa Municipal, Wa West, Wa East, Lawra and Sissala East. Radio stations involved in the program are Radio Upper West, Radio Progress, Radio Wa, Radford FM and West Link Radio.
Giving an overview of activities of the program an official of Media Foundation for West Africa, Philip Acquaye stressed the need for DCEs and other assembly officials to make themselves available for the program.
He said this will enable the citizens to ask questions that affect their livelihoods and security.
Mr. Acquaye said people will be willing to contribute to the development of their communities when they are giving the opportunity to take part in the governance system. He said the citizens however cannot do so when they are not well informed.
He commended the District Chief Executives that have made themselves available for the program and urged those having problems to adjust and make themselves or their representatives available.
Representatives of the districts took turns to speak about the impact of the program so far on their work.
The Wa Municipal Planning Officer Majeed Mohammed said through the program, residents of the municipality are very much awake about their roles and responsibilities.
Mr. Mohammed urged the media to do more particularly in the area of sanitation. He also touched on issues of security, payment of tolls, poor release of statutory funds, poor revenue mobilization and politicization of projects.
The Planning Officer for Wa West District Roger Nabeibakye said the program provides a platform for useful interaction between the assembly and the people of the district.
He said the district is one of the biggest in the region and that managing it is very difficult.
Mr. Nabeibakye expressed the hope that the programme being run will enable both the assembly and the citizenry to do what is expected of them.
He complained of low mobilization of Internally Generated Fund, IGF lack of lay out plan for the district, high teenage pregnancy and very limited telecommunication network in the district. Present at the occasion were three DCEs.
They were MCE for Wa Isahaku Tahir Moomin, DCE for Sissala East Karim Nanyua and DCE for Lawra Martin Bomba-ire.
The MCE for Wa Mr Moomin launched a policy brief on “Participatory Local Governance Practices in Upper West Region: the case of Wa Municipal, Lawra, Sissala East, Wa East and Wa West districts” produced by Media Foundation for West Africa with support from OSIWA.
The policy brief highlights the prevailing local governance practices in the selected five MDAs of the region.
It also examines the cross cutting governance practices with emphasis on the nature and level of citizen’s participation, challenges of local governance in relation to effective participation of the citizens, policy measures and recommendations.