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Politics Thu, 18 May 2006

C/R NCCE Director expresses concern about weak local government

structures

Cape Coast, May 17, GNA- The Central Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr. Frank Adoba, on Wednesday expressed concern that many of the local government structures in were collapsing due to their weak basic structures.

He observed that many of them lacked the requisite facilities such as research libraries and human resources to make them function effectively and suggested a legislation that would make it mandatory for all members of parliament to serve at least a term at the district assembly level to enable them to know what pertains at the grassroots level, before being voted into parliament.

Mr Adoba was speaking at a day's seminar on "women as citizens and decision makers in local governance", organized by the University of Cape Coast (UCC) ladies club in collaboration with ABNATU for Development at the UCC.

The seminar, which was the second to be organized by the two groups, was attended by queenmothers, women and men's groups as well as serving and aspiring assembly women in the region.

It was geared towards discussing and outlining strategies that would enhance the position of women in decision- making at the local governance level, as well as to get more women involved in decision making at all levels in the country. He therefore, stressed the need for district assemblies to have adequate and modern libraries for effective research work to enhance decision-making and called on the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment to ensure the implementation of the Local Government Act for effective administration.

Mr Adoba pointed out that if the nation was able to build a strong local governance structure, it could confidently say that it was nurturing and consolidating democracy, and that anything short of this, makes the call for the consolidation and nurturing of democracy a mirage.

He called on both serving and aspiring assembly women to be assertive by standing up for their rights, without violating the rights of others, and urged them to "negotiate and reach workable compromises and have self-respect and respect for others". Mrs. Baaba Brew Fleistcher assembly member for Ola, who spoke on "the work of an assembly woman and challenges to women", underscored the important role assembly women could play if they were given the needed support.

She regretted that not many women were given leadership positions such as presiding members and chairpersons of select committees, at the assemblies and stressed the need for their work to be appreciated and the situation reversed, to enable them to champion the cause of women and children in the society. Mrs Fleistcher, also observed that the low financial standing and other social obligations made it difficult for women to work effectively and in this regard and called on women to endeavour to acquire the requisite knowledge that would enable them to rub shoulders with men.

Mrs Hamida Harrison, executive member of ABANTU for development, also echoed concerns that although women constitute about 53 percent of the nation's population, only about 10 percent of them were holding national positions with 7.5 percent of them at the local levels. She therefore, reiterated the need for more women to present themselves for the forthcoming district assembly election, and advised them not to struggle to become MPs, where their chances could be slim. Mrs Rosilta Adow Obeng, President of the UCC Ladies Club, said the seminar was a follow-up to an earlier one organized by the club in 2004, to encourage more women to aspire to contest the forthcoming assembly election.

Giving a breakdown of female assembly members in the country, she said there were 348 out of a total of 4,587 assembly members in the 138 districts in the country, which represents 7.6 percent, while only 12 of the 138 District Chief Eecutives were women. She was optimistic that the seminar, would whip up the interest of many more women in both local governance and national issues to present themselves for the local election. 17 May 06

Source: GNA