Members of the Association of Progressive Assembly Members have said they trust the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, to deliver his promise to pay the various assembly members if voted for in the upcoming December 7 polls.
The association which has lauded the NDC flag bearer for the promise was speaking at a press conference held in Ho in the Volta Region on Wednesday, 16 September 2020.
Convenor of the group, Martha M.A. Gato-Lagble, enumerated the benefits the NDC flag bearer’s promise will bring to the country’s local government architecture if it is done successfully.
She said: “It is our view that this promise, although long in coming is a laudable one that must be adopted by any political party. When carried through, the promise will go a long way to push the frontiers of Ghana’s local government architecture knowing how crucial the role of assembly members has been.”
Ms Gato-Lagble noted that the assembly member is the point of call in every community apart from the roles imposed on them by law.
“The assembly member is the taxi driver, the moneylender, the sanitation officer, the judge, the lawyer, the dispute resolution expert among others in most communities.”
The group noted that it is on the back of the various roles played by the assembly member that it is appalled by the “rather unfortunate comment of the majority leader Honourable Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu and Minister for local government and Rural Development Hajia Alima Mahama when the promise was made.”
The association also condemned the actions of both legislators with reference to how legislators push for upward adjustments in their remuneration.
Ms Gato-Lagble stated: “To put it mildly, their position smacks of selfishness, the era where assembly members work as sacrificial service renders should not remain with us, it should be in the dustbin of history. This innovative idea, aside from empowering and motivating assembly members to work more effectively, will also serve as a bait for hesitant but more qualified personalities with varied backgrounds to participate in the local governance system to inject more efficiency and effectiveness into how MMDAs are run.
“It is even more refreshing the assignment of an additional role to Assembly Members to collect birth and death information in the event that His Excellency John Mahama wins the upcoming elections.
“A successful implementation of this policy will provide real-time information on maternity and mortality which information has been lacking for many years.”
Reacting to the NPP’s opinion that the NDC flagbearer cannot implement his promises when given the nod, the association indicated that they can trust the NDC flagbearer to deliver on his promise based on his previous track record.
“Can we trust his Excellency John Mahama to implement this pledge? Our answer to this question is a big yes. Our trust in His Excellency John Mahama is backed by what he as Vice-President did for assembly members. It was under him as vice-president that motorbikes were given to all assembly members in Ghana. This is historic, if not unprecedented in the fourth republic.
“We, therefore, say with certainty that this promise will come to fruition with John Mahama as President.”
The association further applauded Mr Mahama for the bold step.
“We would want to express our profound gratitude to the former President for his bold statement. Like Oliver Twist, we would like to appeal to His Excellency John Mahama and the NDC to consider dedicating a percentage of the District Assembly Common Fund to each electoral area which will be named Electoral Area Common Fund to enable assembly members to undertake developmental projects in their respective electoral areas as they are the true agents of development in their communities. This we’re certain will complete the assembly member empowerment agenda.”