We need strong institutions to address local government challenges – Prof. Quashigah

The immediate past Dean of the School of Law of the University of Ghana, Professor Kofi Quashigah, is indifferent of the idea that introducing party-based local government system will help to address the challenges associated with the current non-party-based local government system in the country.

For him, the current non-party-based local government system had failed to address some of the basic needs of the people due to lack of strong state institutions.

He was of the view that if state institutions were empowered to work effectively and efficiently as expected, the local government system would work in the interest of all citizenry.

Prof. Quashigah was speaking at panel discussion on the topic: “Local Government System, Election 2024, Security and Peace building” at the 75th Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC) held at the University of Ghana on January 9, 2024.

The main theme for the 2024 ANYSC was: “Nurturing Resilience: Adopting Technology and Embracing Humanism for Sustainable Development.”

The Annual New Year School is a flagship programme of the University of Ghana under the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, which has championed national dialogue on developmental, social and political discourse to influence and impact policy, social cohesion and growth.

IDEG was one of the organisations that partnered the university to organise the 75th ANYSC. 

The programme brought together academics, policymakers, business leaders, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders to discuss critical issues affecting Ghana and Africa as a whole.

This year’s theme recognised the unprecedented challenges faced by institutions and the need to develop resilience, adapt to leverage on technology and promote human values and dignity.

Advancing his argument, Prof. Quashigah, noted that the mere fact of introducing party-based local government system was not a panacea to solving the many challenges which had confronted the country’s local government system.

He, therefore, proposed a proportional representation in the local level elections, and also called for measures to prevent state capture by one political party. 

He observed that in a winner-takes-all electoral context where winners monopolise control over the entire executive arm of the state at both local and national level, contribute to the marginalisation of many different groups.

For his part, the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, called for reforms of the current local government system.

He observed, for instance that, chiefs are particularly have been sidelined in the current local government system, noting that many chiefs are aggrieved with the system.

Similarly, he said, women who constitute more than half of the Ghanaian population also continue to experience heavy underrepresentation at every level of government.

Source: Zadok Kwame Gyes

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