A local governance expert, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, has expressed concern about the seeming neglect of the country’s local governance system and warned that this oversight could have severe repercussions for national development.
According to him, local governance plays a critical role in ensuring equitable development nationwide.
He highlighted that the local government level was originally designed to cultivate leaders for the country, and that the current disregard for the district-level elections could lead to a shortage of capable leaders in the future.
Dr Osae made these assertions while contributing to a discussion about the fallout from the just-ended district-level election on JoyNews’ PM Express on Tuesday.
Although the election of district and unit committee members on Tuesday was largely peaceful across the country except for the usual low turnout, the Commission postponed the election in some electoral areas in some regions blaming it on technical challenges such as the shortage of ballot papers.
The EC, while apologizing for the lapses, said some of its printers had not delivered on the contract as expected, compelling it to shift the elections to Thursday, December 22, for electoral areas that were unable to vote.
The local governance expert pointed out that already, the mismanagement of the local government system has contributed to development challenges in various areas.
“If we don’t pay particular attention to our local government system, the development [of Ghana] will suffer and I am not surprised that development is suffering in certain areas because of the challenges of good local leaders,” he told host Evans Mensah.
Dr Osae stressed the need for a holistic approach to address these issues, urging a focus not only on the election process but also on the physical infrastructure and financial support for local assemblies.
One key aspect Dr Osae addressed was the allocation of the common fund to local assemblies. He emphasised the importance of timely and complete disbursement of funds owed to the assemblies, stating that this financial support is crucial for effective governance at the local level.
He further called for a careful selection process for Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), stressing the need for leaders who can think innovatively and strategically.
He underscored the importance of implementing checks and balances, as well as robust accountability mechanisms, to ensure that funds are utilised appropriately and effectively.
“When the monies are mobilized and the government transfers what is due them to them, we need to put in place checks and balances and proper accountability mechanisms so that we put them on their toes and improve accountability so that the funds can be used well.”