As thousands of registered voters are expected to queue under the scorching sun in order to vote to elect their respective Assembly and Unit Committee Members to the various District Assemblies for the next four (4) years, it is important that electorates know what they are voting for in respect of duties of an Assembly Members.
Firstly, the upcoming national election scheduled for Tuesday, 19th December 2023 will be conducted by the Electoral Commission of Ghana in agreement with District Level Elections Regulations, 2015 (Constitutional Instrument, C.I. 89) to elect the Assembly and the Unit Committee Members which is essentially non-partisan-no NDC, no NPP, no PPP, or no CPP, absolutely no political colour (s) is/are allowed during campaign, during and after the election, it’s your constitutional right to vote and vote intelligently.
Secondly, Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) in Section 6 provides that Elections to the District Assemblies shall be held once in every four (4) years and at least six (6) months apart from the Parliamentary elections.
Respectfully, the EC has so far conducted about Eight (8) District Level Elections successfully, in 1988/89, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010/11, 2015, 2019 and it is anticipated that, the 9th one to be held this year, 2023 will equally be a success story adding to Ghana’s democratic credentials.
One of the reasons underpinning decentralization in Ghana is to transfer decision powers from the Central Government to the Local Authorities to make developmental decisions that will stimulate growth and progress at the lower level of governance structure in fulfilment of Act 936 as mentioned above and to also promote and enhance the local economy to meet local needs rather than accumulated or sold for profit.
The foundation for Local Economic freedom granted to local folks at the Assembly level found expression in Article 36 (2)(d) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic under Economic Objectives which says that the state shall, in particular, take all necessary steps to establish a sound and healthy economy whose underlying principles shall include, undertaking even and balanced development of all Regions and every part of each Region of Ghana, and, in particular, improving the conditions of life in the rural areas, and generally, redressing any imbalance in development between rural and the urban areas.
The conduct of District Level Elections (DLEs) is precisely to fulfil some of these provisions especially when it comes to the implementation of Directive Principles under Article 34, and it is an important constitutional imperative of our democracy and to ensure that people are given the opportunity to elect their representatives to the District Assemblies which serves as the highest Political Authorities and the pillars around which local decision making and development evolve for the betterment of all.
As you vote for your preferred candidates, take note of the following duties or obligations that the person elected to do in your area or for your community, say Adafienu Electoral Area or Denu Electoral Area or Hedranawo Electoral Area.

The Author: Edzorna Francis MENSAH,

Again, it is also crucial to establish the fact that, The Local Government Service, the administrative body for policy formulation for onward implementation with its headquarters in Greater Accra Region, is a public Service institution established by the Local Government Service Act, 2003 (Act 656) which has been repealed and replaced with the Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936). The Service exists to secure effective administration and management of the decentralized local government system in the country.
The functions of the Local Government Service generally are to: provide technical assistance to Metropolitan Municipal District Assemblies and Regional Coordinating Councils to enable them to effectively perform their functions; conduct organizational and job analysis for RCCs and MMDAs; conduct management audits for Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) and Metropolitan Municipal District Assemblies (MMDAs) in order to improve the overall management of the Service; design and coordinate management systems and processes for RCCs and MMDAs, and assist the RCCs and MMDAs in the performance of their functions under Act 462, Act 480, and any other enactment.

Now to the duties of your Assembly Member and the District Assembly captured in Section 16 (1) of Act 936 which spells out the duties and responsibilities of a Member of a District Assembly. Some of these include but not limited to; (a) maintain a close contact with the electoral area of the District Assembly, consult the people of the electoral area on issues to be discussed in the District Assembly, collate their view, opinions and proposals.
(b) Present the views, opinions and proposals of the electorate to the District Assembly.
(c) Attend meetings of the District Assembly and meetings of the sub-committees of which the member of the District Assembly is a member.
(d) Meet the electorate before each meeting of the District Assembly.
(e) Report to the electorates the general decisions of the District Assembly; and actions the member has taken to solve problems raised by residents in the electoral area.

(f) Draw attention in general debate to national policies that are relevant to the subject under discussion, etc.
In my conclusion, I wish to remind the voters to reflect on the duties under (b), (d), (e) and (f) as they approach the voting booth to cast their ballot for Edzorna or Francis come Tuesday.

The Author: Edzorna Francis MENSAH, is a practising Journalist and Social Commentator with special interest in Rural Economy and Social Justice for all.

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *