Managing Relations between Civil Society and District Assemblies

Government cannot do it alone when it comes to development, making Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) increasingly important in the equation of development in Ghana. “CSOs are taking center stage in the tripod of development,” says Stephen Osei-Yeboah. The development consultant elaborated on the functions of Non-State Actors and Municipal Metropolitan District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the context of governance at a recent consultative meeting in Accra in which Friends of the Nation (FoN) and other CSOs participated. Other partakers included the private sector and local government authorities from across the southern sector of the nation.

The meeting aimed at generating inputs for development of a comprehensive and harmonized guideline for managing the relationship between MMDAs and CSOs in consonance with the 2010 Decentralisation Policy objectives.

Mr. Osei-Yeboah pointed out that effective mechanisms need to be developed between the local authorities and the CSOs as they both carry out their mandates. The local government plays a leadership and facilitation role, while CSOs play a catalytic role of ensuring that things happen and people get what they deserve in the process of governance. He further stressed that Chapter 20 of the 1992 constitution stipulates precisely that there must be local government structures in place. To ensure the accountability of local government authorities, citizens in the grassroots areas shall, as far as practicable, be accorded the opportunity to participate effectively in governance. According to the consultant, civil society is therefore mandated to be part of the governance process and must not be forgotten or overlooked.

The input made by the participants will guide the consultant and the organizer of the function, SEND-Ghana, a non-governmental organization and partner of FoN, to develop guidelines for future governance purposes.