THE National House of Chiefs (NHC) has made a formal proposal to the government for the allocation of a fraction of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) or the Consolidated Fund to chiefs for development interventions in their traditional areas.
The President of the House, Wulugu Naba Pugansoa Naa Prof. John S. Nabila, who made the request in a position paper to the Minister of Local Government and Rural development, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, in Kumasi last Friday said the money should not necessarily be given directly to chiefs but could be channelled to support some viable projects initiated by the chiefs to serve as living monuments and legacies.
Naa Prof Nabila made the appeal at a day’s workshop on the review process on decentralisation and local governance for members of the house.
The meeting, convened at the instance of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with the German Development Service, was aimed at providing an opportunity for nananom to contribute to the review process of decentralisation and local governance.
Naa Prof. Nabila also called on the government to reserve the 30 per cent of appointments to the district assemblies for traditional authorities.
He re-emphasised that the nation could not move forward without decentralisation, stressing that,” many of the problems facing the district assemblies could be solved if chiefs are involved in the decentralisation process.”
Mr Yieleh Chireh noted the rich heritage of traditional governance, and said, “the challenge has been how to take advantage of this rich resource in order to achieve a harmonious balance at the local level.”
He said 20 years of the decentralisation programme had yielded various results and experiences in the collaboration between traditional authorities and assemblies, and pointed out that more could be achieved in the years ahead.
He gave the assurance that efforts to develop draft guidelines for assemblies towards managing relations between local and traditional authorities at the district level to which nananom gave their support last year, would be finalised and applied as part of the reforms.
The Minister of Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Alex Asum-Ahensan, observed that even though traditional authorities were provided for in the appointment of membership to the assemblies, there was no clearly defined mode as to how such appointments should be conducted and as a result different types of interpretations had been applied depending on the personalities involved in the assemblies.
“Such fluid practice, without doubt, is bound to breed conflict amongst the players and we have instances where chiefs are never consulted in matters affecting the development of their communities,” he said.
He said the nation could derive immense benefits if chiefs were effectively involved in the decentralisation process.