A Critical Study On Leadership And Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana

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A Critical Study On Leadership And Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

Decentralization has become one of the most lasting reform movements in African history, with a well-deserved reputation as a popular effort among governments throughout the continent (Therkildsen 2000:). It’s not surprising, therefore, that many African countries have embraced and implemented decentralization during the past three decades with the hope of addressing major national development problems (social, political, and economic), as well as ensuring general economic and national stability. The necessity for countries to remove the state’s mainly enormous role and stress decentralized governance was reaffirmed by this move to achieve social and economic growth in this environment. Another compelling reason to decentralize may be due to the structure of these economies, which were heavily reliant on development aid and thus were under pressure from donors to decentralize in exchange for aid; this process also allowed donor agencies to pursue their international development portfolios. As a result, according to Crawford(2009), over 80% of all developing-world nations have participated in some kind of decentralisation in order to reap some advantages. .At the very least, most of these developing countries that implemented decentralization hoped that it would help to reduce the state’s central function, redistribute political and administrative responsibilities, ensure an emphasis on efficiency, strengthen accountability, change values and attitudes, and even lead to the exploitation of new technologies, among other wonderful benefits (Therkildsen, 2000). The argument for decentralization in Ghana is similar to the one outlined above. According to Inkoom (2011), decentralization was intended, at the very least, to bring government closer to the people, allowing them to make better choices and react to people’s needs. Others believe it was a result of lessons learned through structural adjustment and economic recovery initiatives, as well as a reaction to current assistance conditionalities, in Ghana. In line with this viewpoint, Olowu (1999) had previously stated that Ghana, like most African countries, was overburdened with obsolete public institutions that were at best incapable of providing services that were directly beneficial to their citizens, and thus faced accusations of poor performance, inefficiency, and widespread corruption. Furthermore, according to Ayee (2005), the political and administrative institutions have long been unable to sustain themselves. As a result, Ghana’s political branch, bureaucracy, and state-owned businesses saw extraordinarily fast development beyond the system’s capacity to support it at the time. He points out, for example, a mismatch between the expansion of the civil service (which expanded at a pace of 7% per year) and the national economic growth rate (which was estimated to have fallen to 0.2 percent per year from roughly 1.3 percent per year from 1965 to 1984). (ibid, 2005). As a consequence, by the early 1980s, all government spending had been dedicated to pay wages. Despite almost three decades of decentralization, which has resulted in fairly complex structures and procedures, Ghana continues to struggle to achieve the anticipated developmental progress, as well as the structural and procedural effectiveness and efficiency (Inkoom 2011). Ghana’s capacity to grow and change its society to the same level as its developed-country peers via decentralized local government has eluded it (Robinson 2007; Conyers 2007). So far, one of Ghana’s main challenges in achieving the expected spectacular social change via decentralized activities has been how policy or program objectives, implementation design, and resource availability may have influenced the accomplishment of stated goals. As Sakyi (2008) points out, policy implementation failure is a defining feature of African development, which is exacerbated by a lack of political and bureaucratic commitment, limited local ownership, poor or compromised coordination, and a failure to link policy to broader political, economic, governance, and institutional development. As a result, initiatives seem to be mostly unsuccessful in attaining intended socioeconomic development and, more recently, likely poverty reduction goals. In conclusion, Ghana, like many other African nations, faced both internal and external pressures to decentralize. It was thought that localizing service delivery would help it handle its social and economic development problems more effectively. However, decentralization has failed to achieve the anticipated gains in public service delivery after almost 30 years of implementation, resulting in little socio-economic change at the local level (Conyers 2007). These limited advances in Ghana’s decentralization initiative need an empirical contextual analysis of the underlying variables that shape the present situation (Inkoom 2011), which serves as the foundation for this argument.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Decentralization aims to disperse power, accountability, and financial resources for delivering public services among government levels. It involves the transfer of responsibility for some public tasks from the central government and its agencies to field units of government agencies, subordinate units or levels of government, semi-autonomous public authorities or companies, or area-wide, regional, or functional authorities. Ghana, particularly rural Northern Ghana, is still suffering from a severe development problem almost three decades after adopting a local government decentralization program. Despite specialized decentralization initiatives (such as district capacity development programs) intended to assist local governments in improving their functioning and capabilities to provide high-impact needs-based community services, this remains a distant reality. It has been argued that Ghana’s decentralized local government initiatives were launched without properly addressing the underlying conceptual and practical difficulties of how to organize or even accept it locally to maximize likely advantages or avoid possible drawbacks. For political expediency or to meet donor requirements, the programs and packages that have followed this development strategy seem to have mainly been adopted wholesale with little or no consideration for the different contextual circumstances. As a result, local institutions are limited in their ability to design and implement pro-poor policies that benefit the most vulnerable in society by providing social protection and improving livelihoods. Bangura and Larbi (2006) warn that the above situation is concerning because decentralization appears to be implemented in countries with the least capacity to carry it out effectively, and that even where capacity exists, too much is expected, and local governments are thus forced to undertake too many reforms in accordance with donor preferences, to the detriment of budding economies. Given this predicament, it’s not surprise that decentralization implementation in Ghana has so far failed to accomplish the objective of improving rural people’ lives (Olowu 2003). It seems that the same problems that prompted the decentralization changes are still present, and in many instances, the recipient Districts or communities appear to be in worse shape than before the reforms were implemented (Sakyi 2008). As the research indicates, the Ghanaian situation is not unusual. It has been claimed that, with the exception of West Bengal and Kerala in India, every other developing country’s experience with decentralization as a method for community development or rural poverty reduction has been problematic (Crawford 2008a; Crook and Sverrisson 2001). Furthermore, Crook and Sverrisson (2001) argue that decentralization as a development strategy may have failed to assist the poor since two-thirds of all instances of decentralization had a negative effect on poverty indices. In sum, as Crawford (2008) points out, the effect of decentralization is minor and unconvincing. According to Ayee (2005), effective involvement in governance, especially local government, is critical in development processes. In today’s development debate, popular community involvement is one facet of decentralization that, if allowed to thrive, has tremendous potential to improve government while also benefiting local people. People become empowered as a result of their involvement, and they will no longer depend only on the state, but will take responsibility for their own well-being. The data on whether the advantages of participation have been realized in rural Ghanaian communities, like decentralization, is sparse. Even when involvement is guaranteed, the extent and quality of engagement that rural communities have in influencing their own development is debatable. Despite the foregoing, commentators argue that where participation is achieved, local development decisions are inevitably improved; greater accountability to the local population is ensured; better mobilization and utilization of local resources is achieved; and greater public sector efficiency is achieved (Crawford 2003; Crawford 2008a; Crook and Sverrisson 2001; Jütting et al. 2005). However, it is unclear what level of participation is referred to or achieved in the context of Ghana’s decentralization. As previous research has cautioned, decentralization reforms do not always lead to increased participation, and its concomitant responsiveness to poverty reduction, and thus does not guarantee automatic pro-poor outcomes.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The primary objective of the study is as follows

  1. To examine rural community development strategies implemented by decentralized local governments.
  2. To investigate the leadership Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana
  3. To analyse institutional capacities for effective decentralized local development
  4. To find out how to improve the leadership of Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study

  1. What is the extent of leadership Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana?
  2. Is there an institutional capacity for effective decentralized local development?
  3. Have there been a development strategy for the rural communities implemented by the leadership of the local government?
  4. Can there be improvement on the leadership of Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana

1.5 Research Methodology

This study will examine Leadership And Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana and is organized into five chapters including summary conclusion and recommendation. It is structured based on four interrelated research questions.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:

  1. This study will examine A Critical Study On Leadership And Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana
  2. The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, central local government in Ghana and academia

1.7 Scope Of The Study

The study examines A Critical Study On Leadership And Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana

1.8 Limitation Of The Study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

Just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher

1.9 Definition Of Terms


The action of leading a group of people or an organization.


An act of presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment.

Decentralized Local Government:

The restructuring or reorganization of authority so that there is a system of co-responsibility between institutions of governance at the central, regional and local levels according to the principle of subsidiarity, thus increasing

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A Critical Study On Leadership And Performance Of Decentralized Local Government System In The Central Region Of Ghana


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