BONGO NABA WANTS AUTONOMY FOR DIST. ASSEMBLIES
The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Salifu Alemyarum, has advocated complete independence of district assemblies to use the common fund allocated to them the way they deemed fit for the development of their areas.
He said strings attached to the Districts Assembly Common Found (DACF) specifically directing the assemblies on how the fund should be used restricted them to work on their priorities.
Naba Alemyarum was speaking to the Ghana News Agency after addressing participants at a 16-day programme on ‘Activism against gender violence campaign’ organized by Action Aid Ghana (AAG).
He said it had become necessary for a strong advocacy work to get government to detach the strings it attached to the DACF to enable the district assemblies to meet the teaming demands for development projects.
Naba Alemyarum said the idea about decentralization would be defeated if the local authority had little or no power to determine what its people wanted and how they should get their demand met.
“Where then is the meaning of decentralization when the assembly, the main implementing body, cannot determine how development work should be carried out within its jurisdiction?”
Naba Alemyarum suggested that the central government could categorise the areas that the DACF should cover but should not attach specifications on how much should be spent on which category.
He said in the Bongo District for instance, the priority area was in giving adequate attention to education in all forms including sponsorships and special attention to the girl child among other things.
He acknowledged that as it were, if the assembly used up funds specified for education, it could not divert money from other areas to augment the crucial needs of the people.
The chief therefore called on the government to consider a review of the DACF to give the assemblies the free will and true autonomy to manage their affairs at the local level.
Earlier, Naba Alemyarum spoke on the topic, ‘the practice of harmful cultural practices is an obstacle to women’s access to Justice-The Role of Traditional Authorities in protecting the rights of the Women in the Upper West Region.’
He said chiefs in the region at one of their meetings resolved to nib in the bud all forms of harmful, injurious and dehumanizing practices inimical to the health of women and other vulnerable groups in the area.
He said for the first time in the history of his traditional area, he had made arrangements to include women in his court, adding that the essence of the innovation is get women to help resolve domestic related violence and issues of bordering on women and children.
Naba Alemyarum called for prudent and workable actions from all spheres of society to strengthen the chieftaincy institution in the region, especially the house of chiefs, to enable it to undertake projects to reduce harmful practices which he indicated should be a gradual process.
He said the legal practitioner engaged by the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs had resigned and appealed to the government to assist the house to engage the services of a legal practitioner to handle its legal works.
The Ghanaian Times Page :10 Saturday, November 28, 2009.