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Opinions of Monday, 7 September 2015

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

Make the Position of Assembly Member a Requirement for MP

It cannot be an overstatement that our beloved country, Ghana, has not performed well in her developmental agenda due probably to the neglect of the District Assembly concept by civil society.

Since its inception in 1988, the District Assembly concept has not made the needed impact on the lives of the ordinary people as expected. Even though the District Assembly is the pivot of administrative and developmental decision-making in the districts and basic units of government, one expected the government and the entire citizenry to give priority attention to it in order to accelerate the country's socio-economic development.

Unfortunately, most professionals and people with the expertise have shown apathy toward the District Assembly concept. Thus, with the exception of President Mahama, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom of PPP fame, and Hon. Joe Osei-Wusu, the MP for Bekwai Constituency, a greater number of influential people have failed to involve themselves in the District Assembly elections. This, no doubt, has affected quality decision-making at the local level which in turn, has derailed progress in the 216 district. It is therefore not surprising that, the 7.5% of Central government tax revenue given to the Assemblies as Common Fund is not only sometimes misapplied, but also 'misappropriated' by those who administer them at the local level.

In fact, most friends and family members of mine were shocked to the bone when they first got wind of my new political route. To them, the level of my managerial experience, coupled with my rich academic records and patriotism, befits the position of Member of Parliament and not Assembly Member. But, how wrong are these friends of mine! There is an adage that goes; "A journey of thousand miles, begins with a single step". As a patriot, it cannot be a mistake to start my political journey from the grassroot.

Indeed, my campaign tour in the electoral area has exposed me to many challenges and has taught me a great political lesson. I would have therefore made a big mistake, if I became a Member of Parliament without participating in the District Assembly elections as an Assembly Member. It is an experience worth-taking and I would propose that, our Parliament passes a law to make the position of an Assembly Member, a requirement for every potential Member of Parliament. This will help nurture them and also let the Parliamentarians have a feel of what the ordinary people, especially those in the villages, go through on daily basis.

In conclusion, I thank all those who supported me financially and morally. Although, as a late entrant, I lost my first public elections as Assembly Member for Dadease Electoral Area by 14 votes, I'm motivated by the political exposure I had within the period. I'm also motivated by Confucius' assertion that; "Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall". God willing, another door of opportunity would open for at the appropriate time.

God bless Ghana! God bless Nana Addo!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri
(katakyiepaulu@gmail.com)
0202471070 // 0547851100 // 0264931361