MEDIA practitioners have been urged to ensure that district assemblies deliver on their mandate by keeping them on their toes.
They have been asked to specifically monitor and track annual action plans and budgets of the assemblies against actual developmental projects on the grounds in the assemblies.
Mr. Farouk Rabiu Braimah, a Consultant for Water and Sanitation for Urban Poor (WSUP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), who gave the advice, noted that such moves by the media would make the assemblies transparent and accountable to their people.
He was speaking in Accra yesterday when the Ga West Municipal Assembly (GWMA), engaged a cross-section of media practitioners in a focus group discussion on transparency and accountability in the municipality.
The group discussion formed part of an ongoing assessment of the implementation of transparency and accountability laws in the municipality.
It was facilitated by WSUP and People’s Dialogue, an Accra-based NGO, and the overall objective of the discussion was to comprehensively review existing laws and policies on transparency and accountability applicable to GWMA as well as institutions to enforce them and make recommendations on how these laws and policies could work effectively.
Mr. Braimah asked media practitioners not to hesitate to relay developmental challenges at the grassroots to the appropriate authorities for redress.
According to him, media practitioners who find it difficult getting answers from officials at the district assemblies could channel their concerns through the Grievances Desk at the Presiding Member (PM) office for appropriate actions.
Mr. Samuel N. Lawer, the GWMA Municipal Planning Officer, said being transparent and accountable to the people at the grassroots could even enhance revenue mobilisation of the assembly.
He asked the assembly to organise town hall and stakeholders meetings to promote transparency accountability.
Madam Faustina Asante, Programmes Facilitator at WSUP, mentioned that most often, residents in communities do not get direct access to their assemblies, hence the discussion between the assembly and the media serve as a channel between the people and the authorities.
She said aside GWMA, the organisation was also facilitating similar discussions at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and plans were advanced to extend it to other assemblies all in a bid to hold district assemblies accountable to the people.
By Joseph Edu Archison