The election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) is long overdue, the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has said.
Because it remains a democratic deficit and a major impediment in the development of the various smaller units that constitute Ghana.
A statement by the party said “It will be superfluous to recount the benefits of electing directly and by Universal Adult Suffrage all our Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) as well as all the Members of the District Assemblies. We would like to emphasize that the concept of government appointees should also be completely abolished. This matter has been flogged over the years with elected governments demonstrating a lack of political will to empower the districts to elect their Chief Executive Officers who are the true agents of developments.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) whose job is to pass legislation have arrogated to themselves the role of development agents with no constitutionally allocated resources.
“The result is that MPs have resorted to all kinds of unorthodox ways and policy violations to attempt to bring some piecemeal development to the people. For example, the office of the
Chief Executive has become a trophy to be won and hijacked by elected political parties to reward party members who could neither become MPs nor Ministers of State. It is therefore not surprising, as their tradition, to see the current General Secretary of the ruling party travelling around the country to conduct the so-called vetting of applicants mostly, party footsoldiers, who have applied to become MMDCEs. When did a political party become a substitute for the established Public Services Commission for the vetting and appointments of candidates to occupy public office?
“The election of District Chief Executives is long overdue because it remains a democratic deficit and a major impediment in the development of the various smaller units that constitute Ghana. It will ensure that all the resources allocated by the Constitution through the District Assembly Common Fund are demanded by the elected officers and same sent to the districts promptly for local development. It will ensure local accountability, elimination of corruption and rapid development. If citizens are capable of electing the president and members of parliament, they should be credited with the wisdom to decide who governs them at the local government level.
“The political chicanery orchestrated by the ruling party to deny the good people of Ghana their power; following the aborted referendum on whether or not MMDCEs should be elected on
partisan basis must be viewed as a coup d’état against the people of Ghana by the political class. The question of a partisan election of MMDCEs or otherwise can only be answered by Ghanaians at a referendum so no one can sit in Accra and deny Ghanaians that opportunity under the pretext of a certain lack of consensus. How else can you know the position of Ghanaians on this matter other than through a referendum?”
Recently, a former Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Akuapem North, Mr Dennis Miracles Aboagye, also said that electing MMDCEs on a partisan basis is the best decision for the country’s democracy.
Commenting on the announcement of the MMDCEs list by Local Government Minister Dan Botwe on Sunday September 19, Mr Aboagye said on the New Day Show on TV3 with host Johnnie Hughes on Monday September 20 that “Some of our people are disappointed, others too are happy. It is part of the democracy that we have.
“For me, this whole discussion brings us to the processes and modalities we use to appoint MMDCEs. I have always agreed with the president and I have stood by him when he says that we need to elect our MMDCEs . Unfortunately, we started a very lengthy process and then along the line our friends from the NDC who were on the same table with us from scratch on the principle of going to elect our MMDCEs on partisan basis abandoned us.
“We believed that MMDCEs should be elected on partisan basis, they (NDC) agreed with us, worked with us, went through the entire process, went through parliament, went through the entire process with us in parliament, supported the enactment of all the legislations and at the last minute to the referendum they pulled out. That singular act was the biggest back stabbing in our history.”
Mr Gabby Otchere Darko, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has also said that President Akufo-Addo intended to have the laws amended in order to make as MMDCes elected as a way of curing the winner takes all problem but some Ghanaians rejected that move.
The former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute said the winner takes all concept in Ghana, form local to national, is not does not help the democracy of Ghana
“It was not for nothing that Akufo-Addo set about to amend the Constitution and have MMDCEs (mayors) elected by the very people they serve. But the opposition had different ideas. The winner takes all, from local to national, is bad for a healthy democracy anywhere in the world.
“Akufo-Addo is not a leader who particularly enjoys wielding the power to appoint or disappoint. He’s slow to reshuffle & even finds the constitutional powers to appoint 1,000s of people tedious a time that could be better spent on getting the work done. But it is what it is,” he said in a tweet reacting to the list of the MMDCEs announced by Dan Botwe and some of the agitations that characterized the announcement.
Mr Akufo-Addo in 2019 ordered for the withdrawal of a Bill that was seeking to amend Article 243(1) of the Constitution which allows the President to appoint Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
In a national address where he announced the cancellation of the December 17, 2019 referendum that was to decide on an amendment of Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to enable political parties to participate in local level elections, the President also put on hold plans that would also allow for the election of MMDCEs as he promised ahead of the 2016 elections.
“It is with deep regret that I have given instructions to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development …to abort the process and see to the withdrawal of the Bills for the amendment of the Constitutions both in respect of Article 243 (1) and Article 55 (3).”
Whilst the President attributed the decision to cancel the referendum to the absence of “a durable national consensus” on the matter, he did not explain why the Bill to amend Article 243 (1) was also withdrawn despite the fact that it had seeming bipartisan backing.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana