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Tue, Sep

Deepening participatory democracy at the district level

President Akufu-Addo

The election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) to help deepen the country’s democratic governance has been an issue waiting to happen.

It was one of the topical issues in the build-up to the 2016 general election, with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) being the main proponents.

The issue of whether MMDCEs should be elected or not has taken centre stage in the country’s political discourse for some time now, with stakeholders expressing mixed views on the issue.

Reiterating, once again, his commitment to the election of MMDCEs when he addressed an orientation programme for the 199 approved MMDCEs by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development at the Institute of Local Government Studies at Ogbojo in Accra, President Akufo-Addo noted: “I belong in the group that has always advocated the direct, popular election of chief executives. It is now a manifesto commitment of the ruling party, the NPP, and so you must be aware that it is going to be fulfilled.”

It is good to offer the opportunity to the people to choose their duty bearers at the district level, especially in a democracy.

For this reason it is the conviction of the Daily Graphic that every necessary step should be taken by all stakeholders to eliminate all the bottlenecks that will hinder the smooth take-off of this all-important national exercise.

Also the direct and popular election of MMDCEs will not only offer the Ghanaian electorate the opportunity to choose who they prefer to represent their interests at the district level but will also go a long way to deepen democracy, democratic accountability and good governance and strengthen the decentralisation process in the country.

Notwithstanding the gains and benefits that could be derived from this bold national exercise, the Daily Graphic can sense fear among some current MMDCEs that the implementation of the programme may lead to some of them losing their  positions.

For current chief executives who are interested in the forthcoming elections under the new elective arrangement, the advice given by President Akufo-Addo that it would be in their own interest to perform creditably and satisfactorily while in office because that is the surest way to determine whether they will earn the confidence of the electorate or not is apt and timely.

Another possible danger being advanced by some stakeholders is whether an MMDCE who is opposed to the ruling government will easily buy into the programmes and ideas of that government or not.

Notwithstanding the remote possibility of sabotage in the governance process, it is the hope of the Daily Graphic  that the national interest will guide all Ghanaians in effecting the change at a referendum soon.

By all means let us uphold our beliefs and ideologies but let us support the idea for the election of the MMDCEs to end the near chaos during the nomination and approval of district chief executives that rocked the country not too long ago.