Time to revisit move to elect MMDCEs on partisan basis – Former MCE

The time has come for stakeholders to revisit plans to have Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) elected, a former Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Akuapem North, Mr Dennis Miracles Aboagye, has said.

He believes that electing MMDCEs on a partisan basis is the best decision for Ghana’s democracy.

Contributing to a discussion on the announcement of the list of the MMDCEs by Local Government Minister Dan Botwe on Sunday September 19 and the agitations that characterized the announcement on TV3’s New Day with host Johnnie Hughes Monday September 20, he said “That for me I think is something we need to revisit it.

“Let us have a conversation around it again and then come to a certain level of consensus that where we have gotten to, this is not sustainable, we cannot continue to go down the this lane, let us give the power to the people to decide, the president has wholeheartedly put out this issue forward and he is willing to let go off this power.

“It is now left with the legislature especially the opposition party in parliament to say as it stands now, it is the best in the interest in the country.”

He further indicated that the last minute decision taken by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to reject a move by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to have MMDCEs elected during his first term in office, amounted to intense betrayal.

 “Some of our people are disappointed, others too are happy. It is part of the democracy that we have.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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