Districts league table: Minister wants peace added to criteria

The Northern Regional Minister Saeed Salifu has called for the inclusion of peace as a criterion in ranking districts on the District League Table. Better still a new league table should be constituted to challenge traditional rulers to work towards achieving peace in the Northern region, he advocated. Speaking at the Northern regional launch of the League Table in Tamale by Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with UNICEF, and Center for Democratic Development-Ghana, the minister said it is only when the traditional councils are accessed and ranked for their contribution towards peace building that the Northern Region will attain sustainable peace. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, UNICEF, and Center for Democratic Development-Ghana launched the League Table in 2013. It is aimed at promoting social accountability by way of ranking all 216 districts in Ghana by their level of development and service delivery. The District League Table initiative also seeks to develop the citizens by exposing gaps in the various districts to enable government prioritize development them; it has long term vision of increasing social accountability. Though Security is among the six indicators – Health, Education, Sanitation, Water, and Governance – the minister believes a dedicated league table towards peace will foster sustainable peace in the region adding the criteria used which looks at the visibility of security in the districts does not oblige traditional rulers to ensure peace in their traditional areas. “Can stakeholders add peace building in your criteria because I believe it is only by doing so that our revered chiefs will feel obligated to foster peace since they will be aware of how their jurisdictions will be ranked,” he explained. Other stakeholders including district co-ordinators also called for a review of the indicators, claiming the restricted indicators do not allow for equal comparisons. They bemoaned the continuous stay of the Northern region and some three districts at the bottom. The Northern Region since the launch of the League Table in 2013 has been ranked the 10th region with one of its districts, Karaga, ranking the 216th as the worst performing districts in Ghana. However, the region has since made a one step up to the 9th position but the regional coordinator Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, indicated the regional coordinating council will not accept any position other than first in the 2017 rankings when it will be launched at the end of the year. To this effect, Alhaji Issahaku has called on the district co-ordinating directors, presiding members and the entire citizenry to take keen interest in the six indicators used in accessing the socio development and welfare of the populace. He revealed investors had arrived to assess the Tamale Metropolis for the construction of a one-stop shopping mall, indication that there is peace there hence the decision for such project to be sited there. “9th position is a jump from our 10th position but it is still unacceptable, it is just like your child bringing his result at the end of a term and he had made only a step up from 10th to 9th position, how will you feel. I think we can do better if we take keen interest in the various interventions by both government and other organizations”. Meanwhile, CDD-Ghana’s Paul Osei Kuffour has educated participants on the aim of the league table. “The League Table does not assess the single performance of chief executives or workers in the assembly but exposes challenges and how resources are and should be distributed for development and to bridge the regional and district inequalities”.

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