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General News Fri, 29 Jan 1999

District Assemblies have not usurped powers of Chiefs

Nkawie (Ashanti), 29 Jan.'99, - Mr Peter Yaw Mensah, Atwima District Chief Executive (DCE) has called on Chiefs to discard the erroneous impression that the District Assemblies have usurped their powers. He explained that the Local Government Act of 1993, Act 462 recognises their authority as traditional rulers in the decentralisation process "and this cannot be downplayed". Mr Mensah was speaking at a day's workshop organised by the District Assembly for Chiefs, Queenmothers, Assemblymen, Area/Town Councillors, Departmental Heads and Unit Committee members in the District. The workshop, the first of its kind in the district to bring all stakeholders in the development of the district together, discussed issues affecting the speedy development of the District and how best to resolve them. Mr Mensah regretted that most Chiefs do not see their way clear and feel that their powers are being jeopardised, resulting in misunderstanding between them and members of the Unit Committees. This, he observed, is hampering the activities of the Unit Committees in some of the communities. The DCE said no community can effectively be administered without the assistance and co-operation of Chiefs because they are the custodians of the land. Mr Mensah said the District Assembly would not site development projects in communities where there is disunity and traditional rivalry and enjoined the Chiefs to help in ensuring peace and unity in their communities. Mr Samuel Kwasi Awuku, Atwima District Community Development Officer, said all citizens have a role to play in the democratic process to ensure accelerated growth of the district He called on the participants to bury all their differences and help in fashioning out bye-laws for the various communities for effective administration, organise communal labour and revenue mobilisation. Mr George Nti, District Development Planning Officer, called for the avoidance of petty squabbles and asked the Chiefs to advise developers to get all documents on land they purchase prepared at the District Assembly. On poverty alleviation, Mr Nti said the Assembly gave out 26.5 million cedis for the sector in 1997 and increased it to 100 million cedis last year, stressing that there is a special committee which sees to its disbursement.

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