African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 389

Full Length Research Paper

Assessing the quality of accountability in Ghana’s district assemblies, 1993 - 2008

Emmanuel Debrah    
Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 02 June 2009
  •  Published: 30 June 2009


The article delineates the forms and mechanisms of accountability in Ghana’s District Assemblies (DAs) and probes their efficacy in the current decentralization policy. It provides empirical data on how accountability relationships have improved or not improved local democracy in Ghana. The DAs were created to be pillars of grassroots governance. The devolution of power to the DAs aimed at enhancing a system of local public monitoring and checks on their elected representatives. This was justified that local representatives would be more accessible to the local populace and could be held at close range for their policies and actions than distant national political leaders. The paper notes that the challenges of local accountability are many but they stem from the tendency of the central government to recentralize power by placing grassroots leaders under its influence. The practice of appointing the DCE and thirty percent members of the DAs, and the upward reporting mechanism reflect a growing culture of central controls in order to side step the autonomy of the DAs. The most apposite remedy for overcoming weak grassroots accountability lies in reform measures that allow the direct election of all officials of the DAs by the local populace.


Key words: District assemblies, accountability, elected representatives, local electorate, democracy, decentralization.