A workshop organised for newly-sworn in members of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly nearly turned bloody when one member was prevented from shaking the hands of the Local Government Minister.
An assembly member perceived to be a member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) tried to shake hands with Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo who had gone to open the workshop, but the others prevented him from doing so.
This resulted in verbal exchanges and physical scuffle between members of the assembly who belong to the NPP and the NDC. Mr. Ofosu Ampofo, described the development as shameful.
The workshop was to teach the assembly members the local government system and the assembly's Standing Orders. Touching on the raging debate about poor conditions of service for assembly members, Mr. Ofosu Ampofo, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development said no discussion on monthly salary or allowance had been tabled by stakeholders, but added there were plans to increase sitting allowances.
He said the government had considered it necessary to start with facilitating the movement of assembly members to enhance their work in their localities.
The Minister pointed out that until an amendment is made to the existing local government law; the work of the assembly member is deemed sacrificial. Mr. Ofosu Ampofo told the opening ceremony government is committed to strengthening the decentralization system in the country to ensure local governance is made more relevant to Ghanaians.
Debate on whether or not assembly members should be given monthly salary has over the years taken centre stage at various fora on decentralization.
Some local governance experts believe a form of financial support to assembly members will boost their commitment and therefore strengthen the system.
Source: Kofi Asante Ennin/Nhyira Fm-Kumasi
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