Scrap upcoming referendum – Abu Sakara

Former Presidential Candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr Foster Abu Sakara has called on the government to scrap the upcoming referendum which seeks the opinion of Ghanaians on whether or not political parties can participate in local government elections.

According to him, the referendum defeat the purpose of decentralisation as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution and an impediment for social accountability.

He was speaking in Accra yesterday at the launch of a report on the topic, “Promoting Social Accountability to Enhance Spending Efficiency at the Local Government Level” by Imani Ghana.

“The whole idea behind decentralisation is to enable the people demand accountability from their local leaders because they have the power. This referendum seeks to give that power to a party political authority. What is the point in participating in a referendum which does not give a different outcome?

 If you vote yes, you legitimise partisan participation. If you vote no, the status quo which is by appointment prevails because there is no compelling force to ensure that subsequent to the referendum, if there is a No vote, Article 243 (1) is passed for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to be elected,” Dr Sakara stated.

He said, currently, there was no basis for partisan participation at the local government level if Ghanaians were serious about social accountability saying that it would further deny competent individuals from contesting for local government elections.

Additionally, he argued that a ‘Yes Vote’ would lead to partisan divisiveness, presently ongoing at the national level, at the local government level.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), Senyo Hosi, said a ‘Yes Vote’ would deepen unaccountability and heighten corruption.

“In a country where commonsense is defined by party colours, we have vote no to partisan district elections. We want our Assemblymen and MMDCEs to be accountable to us and not their party heads.

 Presenting the report, Patrick Stephenson, Head of Research, Imani Ghana, said the findings from the 15 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) used for the study revealed limitations in accountability and transparency in the management of local expenditure despite the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) being in place.

He said local participation in expenditure planning and development projects was generally low due to failure of local authorities to engage their constituents and the deficiencies in the Assembly and Unit Committee membership structure.

 The adamant attitude of greater number of citizens including key local members such as traditional authorities, opinion leaders and religious leaders to get involved also accounted for the local participation, resulting in the demand-side accountability which serves as the basis for enhancing accountability, very weak, he added.

 As a result, Mr Stephenson said Internally Generated Funds (IGFs) were generally utilised in a manner that had no direct and positive relationship with service delivery.

He recommended a change for local expenditure management that ensures effective participation, comprehensive understanding of local members in budgeting and as well, ensures efficiency in the use of revenues for all-inclusive growth and development.

Photo by Osa

Show More
Back to top button