MIA Holds Consultation, Sensitization Confab

By Jefferson D. Tweh from Gbarnga

In an effort to boost the decentralization process in the country, the Ministry of Internal Affairs held a three-day confab on Stakeholders High Level Consultation and Sensitization on rationalization of local government administrative structures in Gbarnga City, Bong County, with the support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).The confab brought together Civil Society Organizations, political parties, local government officials and traditional leaders from Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Bong Counties.

Speaking at the opening of the confab, the Deputy Minister for Research and Development Planning at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, J. TiahNagbe said Decentralization is very essential becauseit is a Good Governance that divides government business between central and local actors and it brings more people into the process of development and service delivery, and promotes greater accountability.

Minister Nagbe told the participants that too many political sub-divisions are the obstacles to decentralization and it leads to high administrative costs, and less money for development and services.

According to Minister Nagbe, localities are not self-sustaining and that undoubtedly undermines national unity when localities ferment ethnicity. He noted that Good Governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development, therefore people should take the decentralization process seriously because it will foster more development in the country.

Also speaking at the confab,the Commissioner for Political and Legal Reforms, Governance Commission, Mr.YarsuoWeh-Dorliae disclosed that decentralization will take proactive measures to ensure the active participation of women at all levels of local government,including representation on local councils and administrative bodies,as well as involving in development planning and community meetings.

Mr. Weh-Dorliae told the participants that it will help to undertake affirmative actions to invest in girls’ education and train to enhance women participation in local governance and ensure empowerment, participation and integration of vulnerable and marginalized groups such as physically and mentally challenged, elderly people, orphaned and abandoned children in local communities.

According to Mr.Weh-Dorliae, cities and townships will be created by the act of Legislature and that cities will have mayors and council for their governance and administration, while townships will have commissioners and governance and administration.