It has come to light that many of the deprived Zongo communities would have seen some form of development if leaders in these communities know the development cycle of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and have lobbying skills as well as the development planning process.
This revelation was made at the first in the series of the Ministry of Inner-City and Zongo Development’s sensitization programme for inner-city and Zongo community leaders in partnership Star Ghana Foundation held in the Ashanti Regional Capital last week.
The maiden sensitization programme was heavily attended by Zongo tribe heads namely Gonga, Hausa, Mamprusi, Wangara, Grusi, Dgomba among others.
Other members were Assembly members, aspiring Assembly members, Moslem women leaders, representatives from the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Electricity Company of Ghana and the Municipal Chief Executive officer of Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly in the Ashanti Region, Alhaji Alidu Seidu.
Speaking at the sensitization programme, the Director of Policy, Planning, Budget Monitoring and Evaluation (PPBM&E) Mr Mohammed Alhassan, said era, where leaders wait on the various Assemblies to throw projects at them without their inputs in the Zongo communities, must be a thing of the past.
He took the opportunity to entreat the leaders to know the budget cycle of the Assemblies to enable them to push for the development of their deprived communities.
‘It interesting to note that, sometimes people from the Zongo communities’ troop to the Minister’s office only to seek assistance on how to acquire a passport or a birth certificate when this can be done at the Assembly levels’ he stressed.
According to him, the time that the Minister might waste on such enquiries could have been channelled to doing other things.
It is in view of this, that the Ministry in partnership with Star Ghana Foundation took it up to promote community ownership of policies, development projects and explore the level of transparency and accountability in the local governance process, in accordance with Act 936 he said.
He said the Ministry has come to the realization that many of the people in the catchment areas of the Ministry think that once the Ministry has been established it must be able to provide all the necessities of all the people living in the inner-city and Zongo communities, when the Assemblies are there to augment the efforts of the Ministry.
He said many of the things needed in the Zongo communities takes lobbying to get down but because the leaders do not know, things do not get done as demanded by the people.
A resource person, Kojo Anane Frimpong, on his part said social accountability demands that stewards accounts and take responsibility for the resources that were made available to them.
He said transparency, accountability and participation demands that community leaders take active part in the activities of the Assemblies they belong to.
Without this, the Assemblies will continue to foist projects down the throat of the members at their whims and caprices he explained.
When people participate in the activities of the Assemblies, they turn to determine what they need and when they need it for the development of their communities, He noted.
Knowing the community development plans and the Public Financial Management of the Assemblies helps leaders to know when to lobby for projects in accordance with the budget cycle.
He said all Assemblies have a guide which is the plan, budget, procure and account, when community leaders don not know these it brings underdevelopment.
It is important for the community leaders in the deprived communities to know these guides to enable them lobby the Assemblies, then things get done anyhow.
Sariki Alhaji Alaza, Chief of Yadigawa, the Chairman of the occasion on his part thanked the Ministry and the Minister for the opportunity offered the leaders of the community to understand how the Ministry and the Assemblies work.
He said this long overdue and if they had known this many of the communities would have seen development by now