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NCCE Not Happy With Assembly Members

2008-03-01 15:38:03
This article has been read 815 times.

A District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has noted with concern the practice where some assembly members use their positions to lobby for contracts instead of holding the executive in check.

He said by this attitude, the Assembly Members were not only engaged in conflict of interest but were also in the process of being corrupted by the executive and could therefore not speak in the interest of their communities.

Alhaji Abdul-Razak Saani, the Tolon/Kumbungu District Director of the NCCE, said this at a two-day workshop to promote democracy and good governance in Ghana in Tamale.

The Ghana Integrity Imitative (GII) a local chapter of Transparency International, an NGO dedicated to curbing corruption in Ghana and the NCCE, initiated the workshop.

It was on the theme: "Fighting corruption - An agenda for democracy and good governance".

Alhaji Saani said the practice of assembly members lobbying for contracts also had the tendency of stifling healthy democratic debate in the assemblies since the District Chief Executives could buy over the "vociferous" ones with contracts.

Madam Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Programmes Manager of GII, said for the Assets Declaration Law to be effective there was the need for the declarations to be made accessible, the rate of compliance made public and the Auditor-General to design and implement a verification system.

She said with a few months to end the term of office of the government, it was appropriate for the electorate to inquire as to whether their Members of Parliament had complied with the constitutional requirement of declaration of assets.

Madam Ofori-Kwafo said this was particularly important for ministers who had resigned and contested for the presidential slot of their parties and who having lost the contest, were now vying for parliamentary seats.

She reiterated the need for the government to enact the Freedom of Information Law to complement the Whistleblowers’ Act to allow greater access to public information and to encourage the exposure of wrong doing in public office as well as foster transparency in governance and public administration.

Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister, said government/citizenry partnership for accountability included the responsible use of rights and freedom and that what was being touted now was accountability without citizens’ responsibility in education.

He said elected and appointed officials were the ones who more often, came under all forms of social pressure to meet the demands of individuals, adding: "This leads to compromise in public accountability of office holders."

He said the collaboration between government and civil society in seeking good governance and development was embodied in the spirit of New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the African Peer Review Mechanism.

Alhaji Idris said most often civil society had sought to review the performance of government and state functionaries but wondered if they in turn, had wanted to be reviewed in whatever position they found themselves and the amount of resources they controlled.

"The accountability call most often, tends to be quiet on those who control non-state public resources like those of you in the NGOs and civil society organisations and traditional authorities and even family heads who control family property", he said.


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