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A study conducted by IDEG, which formed the basis of the discussions, showed that there was consensus for changes to be made in the decentralization process.

The forum decided that the position of DCEs must be elective. However, mechanisms of accountability to the people needed to be strengthened to avoid the patronage system that a presidential appointment introduced in local governance.

They proposed elected DCEs, competent and accountable to the people but with the capacity to appoint, within the structures of the local government service, the requisite skills to implement development programmes with strong institutions such as the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and the regional co-ordinating councils (RCCs) to exercise oversight responsibilities. The meeting also proposed the strengthening of the powers of Presiding Members (PMs) and the assemblies, including their basic units, for participation and inclusiveness in development.

It decided that the administrative functions of the DCE had to be taken and given to the district co-ordinating director (DCD), while the District Planning Co-ordinating units should report to the DCE, instead of the RCC. They said the executive committee, made up of all the heads of committees in the assembly, should function under the leadership of the PM, but with the appropriate links to the DCE and his administration.

Some for the proposals are for the roles of various groups at the local level of governance, such as traditional authorities, civil society groups, including non-governmental organisations, to be properly defined, recognised and linked to decentralization processes to enhance the process.
Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana

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