By The Grace Of God I Am Only A Court-Going Lawyer - Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey Writes

Reader, I am NOT a journalist. By the grace of God I am only a court-going lawyer. I write only as a hobby, and I continue to do so because I am encouraged by phone calls and comments from very highly placed Ghanaians.

I am not sure His Excellency the President has enough time to be reading my articles, but I pray and hope he will read this article.

At the time when I was a student in Achimota School, 1967-1974, there used to be a giant body called “Accra Tema City Council.” In those days, I knew next to nothing about local government, so I used to wonder: Accra Tema City Council? When we are talking about national politics, you say what – City Council?

Then I joined the Army, suffered a series of misfortunes, got called to the Bar, then my people sent me to Parliament only for President Kufuor to name me as Deputy Minister for Local Government.

Ooooh God! What is Local Government? When we are talking of Attorney-General, Minister of Tourism, and Minister of Education – you are saying Local Government? In fact, I confess that night I did not sleep.

Next day, I drove grudgingly to Local Government to see Hon Baah Wiredu, the Minister, my mate at Legon, a fellow Vandal, and MP for Asante Akim North, then lawyer Hajia Alima as a colleague deputy.

Reader, after just a few weeks, I realized that the best ministry one can enjoy is LOCAL GOVERNMENT. In fact, make your best ministers in charge of Local Government, and YOU WILL NEVER LOSE ANY ELECTION.

For as long as Kwamena Ahwoi was Minister at Local Government, NDC won every election. They changed him, and………….chaos. You remember when Baah Wiredu was in charge of Local Government? NDC’s Samuel Ofosu Ampofo at Local Government?

Reader, all talk about NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, all this running around……………..the bottom line is LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

Law and order in the streets, in the neighhoods, is law and order in the city, and that is law and order in the nation.

Raising revenue in the nighberhood means raising revenue in the city, and that is raising revenue in the nation. Reader, let us STRENTHEN local governance, and Nana Addo can have his peace.

After working with Baah Wiredu at Local Government for several months, he made me Chairman of New Districts Creation Committee, and we noticed that Accra Metropolitan Assembly was TOO BIG.

At the time when Kwame Nkrumah was being overthrown in 1966, ACCRA was only James Town, Kaneshie, Adabraka and Osu. Maybe we can add Labadi because of the Ring Road.

Today, as I write, ACCRA stretches from Prampram, Afienyo, Dodowa, Aburi, Nsawam, Kasoa, the coast – you see human habitation ALL over. The population of ACCRA, according to ACTUAL reality on the ground, exceeds 10 million people.

And so Accra Metropolitan Assembly kept losing part of its territory to Ga South, Ga East, La Dade Kotopon, LEKMA and so on, until today, thanks to President Akufo-Addo we have or we are going to have KORLEY KLOTTEY MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY!!!!

Korle Klottey, for orientation, covers the whole of OSU, the RIDGE, ASYLUM DOWN and ADABRAKA – four main communities each with very interesting features.

Korle Klottey is, on the grounds, the Headquarters of Ghana. Osu Castle, Parliament House (both old and new), all the ministries, headquarters of all the political parties have to all the greatest hotels, the Sports Stadium, Osu Oxford Street……………Korle Klottey in short is the microcosum of Ghana.

If Korle Klotey Municipal Assembly settles down to work, and they are serious, they can collect so much revenue, even from property rates only, to ensure that all staff of the Municipal Assembly can walk home with very fat regular emoluments.

Reader, it is all LOCAL GOVERANCE.

I remember 2001 as Deputy Minister for Local Government I led a team of DCEs on a two-week tour of Canada, and we visited a small CITY  of DUNCAN, population – 5,000 people, with their mayor, a young lawyer, just returned from the courtroom, wearing bibs as a lawyer, running their own affairs, including a university college!!!

We also visited a small community where the Mayor, a certain old lady had been regularly elected unopposed as Mayor for 40 years continuously………………

About three years ago there was massive rioting by the youths of Manchester, UK and I heard a police officer complaining on BBC…..”What is their problem? We take care of everything…………so what is their problem?”

The President is a mortal, like you and me – he cannot be EVERYWHERE at the same time. So, he rules through REGIONAL MINISTERS. They are also mortals, they cannot be everywhere at the same time, so we have DISTRICTS, and the DCEs are also mortals – they cannot be everywhere at the same time, so we must have FUNCTIONAL STRONG NEIGHBOURHOOD LEADERSHIP STRUCTURES.

I know of some Districts in Ghana today which have over 200 villages!!!

And you see, reader, the problems of Keta and their sea defence battles are very different from rain forest district of ASANTE BEKWAI and hugely different from savannah threatened BAWKU EAST.

I live at Kasoa, near the tollbooth, and my wife’s domestic problems are different from Bortianor coastline, but we are all under one district.

Reader, let us STRENGHTEN LOCAL GOVERNMENT, and the President can freely enjoy Jubilee House.

Nana, Nkrumah left a legacy of 700 functional active LOCAL COUNCILS. There is more room for new districts. Let governance be felt at the doorsteps of every Ghanaian.

Welcome, Korle Klottey. I confess I envy whoever will be appointed as the first Municipal Chief Executive. I don’t speak Ga, so I am not even qualified.


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