1. Centre for Social Democracy (CSD-Ghana) welcomes a proposal from the Former President John Mahama, Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress to pay a monthly stipend to Assembly Members if given the opportunity to lead the country in the 7th December 2020 general election. With bipartisan engagements and constructive debate, this idea could help deepen decentralization and accelerate socio-economic development.
2. H.E. John Mahama in a Facebook live on Thursday 18th June 2020 indicated his intent to involve the Assembly Members in capturing the birth and death statistics of their respective electoral areas to enhance the district and national database and also to introduce periodic stipend for the Honorable Assembly Members.
CSD-Ghana commends the Former President for such a proposal because we believe that Assembly members are at the centre of any government decentralization programme. Unfortunately, they have been ill-resourced over the years. The proposal is also in line with the social democratic principle of popular participation and empowerment of the grassroots. This CSD-Ghana believes is a major boost to local governance and decentralization.
In addition, we suggest the following:
(i) Electoral Area Grant: The Former President and his team may consider legislation to set up a small grant program under the District Assemblies Common Fund to support communities undertake self-help projects that will enable them to address basic challenges.
(ii) Office Space: An eco-friendly portable office space could be established in the various electoral area to facilitate the work of Assembly Members in the decentralization process.
(iii) Activities at the Electoral Area Office: In addition to the documentation of birth and death statistics, the office could also be used for gathering information on sanitation, building permits, security etc. for the district assembly.
3. Ghana somewhat has shown a commitment to decentralization since the introduction of Local Governance in 1988. However, it lacks a comprehensive form of decentralization which entails the transfer of authority and autonomy.
4. We encourage other political parties to prioritize issues of decentralization and propose reforms to deepen the current local government system.
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