The 1992 Constitution mandates the President to appoint metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) to essentially represent him and exercise his authority at the sub-central government level.
Article 243 (1) of the Constitution says, “There shall be a District Chief Executive for every district who shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the Assembly present and voting at the meeting.”
This is where the President draws his authority to appoint chief executives for the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs). It used to be barely 100 appointees in the 1990s, but increased to 110 around 2004 when more local assemblies were created.
The current announcement of 212 MMDCEs is the single largest number of such appointments made in a day in the history of the country. It is, therefore, not surprising to see pockets of protests greeting the President’s appointments. We are, however, very concerned and worried over the violent protests in this regard.
The Daily Graphic thinks that such violent protests at some of the places fly in the face of the Constitution, which is the highest law of the land.
The Executive Presidential system practised in the country requires that having won the mandate of the people through the exercise of a universal adult suffrage, the President delegates power to others to exercise on his behalf, especially at the local government level.
The natural thing to do, the Daily Graphic would like to think, is to support the President to appoint people whom he is satisfied could help him discharge his mandate successfully.
We do not dispute the fact that people from a particular community may express their disagreements about an appointee, but that should not degenerate into vandalising public or private property, including party offices, as happened in Mpohor, Tolon, Zebila, Savelugu, Nanton and Sagnarigu. These are acts of lawlessness that should be considered for what they are, criminal.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) has already given an assurance that the police would do their work intrepidly. Regarding the current wave of vandalism following the appointment of MMDCEs, he has directed the prosecution of all suspects arrested in connection with the disturbances that followed the announcement of MMDCEs last Tuesday.
The Daily Graphic supports the IGP’s directive as that would send a message to other members of the public to follow due process at all times.
There were other places where although people were palpably not satisfied with their nominees, they chose peaceful means to register their protests. The examples of the people in Ashaiman, North Dayi and Sandema where aggrieved persons either held press conferences to register their protests or petitioned their regional ministers are most welcome.
They have demonstrated civility and by that upheld the rule of law.
The Daily Graphic wants to call on members of the public not to allow their emotions and perceptions to cloud their judgement regarding the nominated MMDCEs, but they should give the President the chance to exercise his mandate.
We are also gladdened by the decision to initiate steps to amend our laws so that the next set of MMDCEs would be elected by their own people. This may reduce the needless tension associated with the nomination and confirmation of MMDCEs.