The history of decentralisation in Ghana can never be told without the input of a man called Professor Kwamena Ahwoi as he is a master architect when it comes to that sector.
Born to a sefwi father and a Fante mother, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi is the third of eight siblings.
He is an Oxford University Rhodes Scholar and University of Ghana Pioneer Tobacco Company Scholar. He holds a Bachelor of Civil Law (LL.B) respectively from the two universities.
He was a Lecturer in Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon, before joining the government of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) in 1982.
Prof Ahwoi was PNDC Secretary (Minister) of Local Government from 1988 to 1993. He was a member of the “Akuse Group” that prepared the PNDC blueprint on local government reform and decentralisation in 1987 entitled “District Political Authority and Modalities for District Level Elections” that popularly came to be known as the “Blue Book.”
After that, he directed, supervised and chaired the Inter-Ministerial Task Force that prepared the first major legislation and decentralisation, the Local Government Law on 1988, PNDCL 207. He also made substantial input into the work of the Committee of Experts (Constitution) and the Consultative Assembly whose respective work finally culminated in Chapter 20 of the 1992 Constitution on “Decentralisation and Local Government.”
As Minister of Local Government, he piloted the Local Government Act of 1993, Act 462, as well as the other major legislation on Local Government such as the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, 1993, Act 455; the National Development Planning (System) Act, 1993, Act 480; and the Local Government (Urban, Zonal and Town Councils and Units Committees Establishment) Instrument, 1994, L.I. 1589, through Parliament.
He was also the Minister who signed into existence the Legislative Instruments establishing the 110 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in 1988/89.
In 1997/98, Professor Ahwoi had the unique honour of holding both the Local Government and Foreign Affairs ministerial portfolios. He has considerable international experience in the area of local government and decentralisation. He was for a very long time a member of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) based in London, UK; President of the Afro-Asian Rural Reconstruction Organisation (AARRO) based in New Delhi, India; and a founding member of the Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) based at the Secretariat in London.
He had addressed conferences of the United Nations, the International Union of Local Authorities, the European Parliament, HABITAT and AFROCITIES and participated in scores of international conferences, seminars, workshops and roundtables on local government and decentralization.
He also advised on decentralisation programmes in several African countries.
As legal academic, Professor Ahwoi’s passion was jurisprudence. His seminal article on “Kelsen, the Grund Norm and the 1979 Constitution “published in the University of Ghana Journal is still compulsory reading in the course on the “Pure Theory of Law” at the University of Ghana Law Faculty. At GIMPA, he has written and published extensively on local government and Decentralisation, climaxed by his book on “Local Government and decentralisation in Ghana” published by Unimax Macmillan. This has become the leading work on the subject on Ghana.
Professor Ahwoi has four children and is married to Mrs. Comfort Nada Lomotso Ahwoi, a lawyer who works with the Legal Department of the Bank of Ghana.