The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has reacted the call for elections of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) made by President Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo Addo saying, it is not happy when Mr Akufo-Addo equates consensus building to mean Ghanaians bowing to his resolve to have the MMDCEs elected on party lines.
The Party said the decision to elect MMDCEs is not the president to make.
“The president reiterated his earlier position to ensure that Article 55(3) of the constitution be amended to allow political parties participate in local level elections which can only be done through a referendum. A process the president denied Ghanaians the opportunity to pass judgement on in his first term in office blaming it on lack of consensus. This, we believe is an attempt to continuously postpone the general call by Ghanaians for the amendment of Article 243 and related articles which do not require referendum to allow citizens to elect their own MMDCEs which is a sure way for accountability and bring development to the people.
“It is important to emphasise that, our decentralization efforts, the search for development, resolve for probity and accountability and unification of the country cannot be realized if the government does not demonstrate commitment to allow citizens to elect their own district chief executives. We wish to forcefully posit that government should allow for the amendment of Article 243 of the 1992 Constitution smoothly through parliament without impeding the process with Article 55(3) and claim there is no consensus which only stalls the process.
“After practicing constitutional democracy for 30 years, our resolve must not be merely rhetoric. Ghanaians must begin to enjoy the fruits of constitutional democracy by giving power back to the people and limiting the excessive executive powers for our common good.
“The PPP will continuously promote the idea of giving power to the people by allowing citizens to decide on their own Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives by fixing aspects of the 1992 Constitution that deprives the people of their rights,” the PPP said in a statement on Friday April 29.
Mr Akufo-Addo is seeking to reintroduce the idea of having MMDCEs elected in the country.
He said consultations are underway on this move.
“It was and continues to be my view that the repeal or modification of an entrenched clause of the Constitution should attract widespread support to make it acceptable and healthy for the body politic. We should further bear in mind the strong attachment of the Ghanaian people to multi-party democratic elections.
“On the average, the turn out for national elections in the 4th Republic has been 72%, one of the highest in the world, whilst the turn out for the allegedly non-partisan local government elections has always hovered around thirty percent (30%),” he said when he addressed the nation on the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, on Thursday April 29.
The president added, “I have said it before, and I will repeat it. I will continue to work for an extensive, national consensus on this issue, and should such a consensus be attained for the repeal of article 55(3) of the Constitution, and an agreement reached for political parties to participate in and sponsor candidates for election to district assemblies, at any point during my remaining tenure of office as President of the Republic, the matter will be brought back again to the front burner of our public discourse for the necessary action.
“I am hoping that, after completing the necessary consultations, I will, shortly, be in a position to announce a way forward on this important matter.”
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 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