April 9, 2015

Three Ghanaian Members of Parliament have called for the retention of competent and experienced assembly members to ensure continuity and a more effective local government system at the various assemblies.

Nii Amasa Namoale, vice chair of the committee of local government and rural development, Kwasi Ameyaw Kyeremeh ranking member of the committee and his deputy Kwai Amoako-Attah met with diplomats and local government experts at a round table discussion in Ottawa after meeting members of the environmental committee of Canada’s parliament.

Addressing the participants, Kyeremeh who is also MP for Sunyani East said one of the surest ways to keep the assemblies working will be to keep the competent and experienced members of the assemblies.

“In order to keep the assemblies moving and ensure continuity, the best thing will be for the experienced members to be retained,” he said.

Kyeremeh said when the experienced members are kept, it makes running of the assemblies easier and the various districts, municipal and metropolitan assemblies will not have the problems of retraining new hands. However, “it is the Ghanaian voter who would determine that in the coming elections,” he said.

Namoale said it was unfortunate that the Electoral Commission spent more than ₵300 million on the recently postponed district assembly elections. He said this should serve a lesson to all stakeholders and such mistakes should not be repeated again. “Even though we are still learning as a growing democracy, mistakes like this should have been avoided,” Namoale said.

Ghana’s high commissioner to Canada, Dr Sulley Gariba commended the MPs for sharing their experiences. He said in spite of the challenges, Ghana’s local government system is one of the best and “we can only get better.”

Lesotho’s high commissioner to Canada Mathabo Tsepa said Lesotho has a lot to learn from Ghana’s local government system. However, she said Ghana could also learn from Lesotho’s example where a number of seats are reserved for women. “This is to encourage women to occupy political positions and contribute their quota to a process predominantly occupied by men,” she said.

Currently in Ghana, the system does not have a quota for women but rather, the President has to appoint 30 per cent of members to help the other elected members.

Source: Eddie Ameh-Ottawa, Canada