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Regional News Wed, 23 Apr 2003

Six district assemblies to be upgraded

Senya Beraku (Central Region) - Cabinet has approved the upgrading of six district assemblies to municipal status, while Tamale Municipality has also been upgraded to Metropolitan status.

The six assemblies are Bolgatanga, Wa, Sunyani, Ho, Obuasi and Bawku, the outgoing Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, announced at the launch of the Second Local Government Week celebration at Senya Beraku on Tuesday.

The Local Government Week was instituted to enable local government administrators to take annual stock of their stewardship, plan strategies to make them more accountable and responsive to their people and to move forward their agenda for development.

The week is under the general theme: "Local Governance: Key to national development with focus on the role of district sub-structures in the process." Baah-Wiredu said a draft Legislative Instrument to increase the number of urban councils from 34 to 76 had also been laid before parliament whilst the ministry is working with the Electoral Commission and the Office of the President to create additional District Assemblies.

It has also initiated a legislative procedure to review a number of legislations and institutional structures of local government administration, in consonance with the government's commitment to progressively deepen the decentralization process.

The Minister advised Municipal and District Chief Executives (M/DCE) against corruption, bullying and creeping pride. "Although these allegations have not been proven beyond all doubts, there is a growing misconception by the public that we are gradually going back to the old bad ways of doing things that culminated in the phenomenal positive change.

"As we all are aware, this government has declared a moral crusade code-named zero tolerance for corruption. We shouldn't allow excessive pride, bullying tactics and disrespectful nature to be associated to us, those who have ears, let them hear."

Baah-Wiredu also expressed concern about poor working relationship and inter-personal problems affecting the smooth operations of MCEs and DCEs. He said the ministry had numerous reports of lack of trust and mutual respect between some M/DCE and Presiding Members, misunderstanding between M/DCE and their regional ministers, Members of Parliament, party executives and activists and traditional authorities.

"Intolerant behaviour on the part of some M/DCE and the tendency of showing people where power lies, a combination of all these wear all of us down, and do not ensure the peace and tranquillity required for any meaningful development."

Source: gna