While the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is responsible for overseeing the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), the Minister has to recognize that the RDC councillors are the elected representatives of the people and thus have moral superiority over the selected government contract workers. Further, the elected officials are the ones who are accountable to the people, therefore they should be given full power to develop the region for the people.
But there is apparently a serious misconception on the part of the Minister and his cohorts in Region Eight on the subject of who is their authentic representative.
Despite what the government says, Mark Crawford has been duly elected by the people of that region to be their Chairman, not the Regional Executive Officer, who is a contracted employee of the ministry.
The human development programme of Region Eight has to be conceived by the local people, not a partisan political appointee of the ministry. The people of Region Eight at the 2011 regional elections voted as follows:- AFC-983 votes (6 seats), PPP/C-744 (4 seats), APNU-693 (4 seats), TUF-121 (1 seat). The Minister should take heed.
Their message was overwhelmingly clear – they want the majority opposition in parliament (66% of the Region 8 votes) to manage their affairs; certainly not the PPP. So the Minister has no moral authority to disregard the voice of the majority of the people and refuse to listen to their legitimate representative – Mr Crawford.
We are of the firm opinion that the Minister’s public outburst is at variance with the will of the people.
The Minister should do what is right for the people of Region Eight and stop playing politics with their lives. After all, they have endured more than their share of disappointment and let-down from this administration over the past 22 years.
But we cannot expect any better from the Freedom House operatives; they exhibit all the characteristics of dictatorial tendencies. They continue to use their position as a minority government to impose their work plan on the majority in the Region without the people’s permission and approval. Then after conducting such abuse, they run to GINA and call it development.
It is very clear that the actions of the Minister and the Office of the REO are detrimental to development in Region Eight. The end result is massive suffering and neglect of the people there.
We call on the leaders of the Alliance for Change (AFC), the party of Mr Crawford, to bring this issue to Parliament with a view to seeking answers and corrective measures to bring an end to the administrative dysfunctionality in Region Eight, where the REO operates as though he is the executive and legislature of the region and therefore answerable to no one but the Minister.
Harish S Singh