EC staff with election materials
EC staff with election materials

To elect or not to elect MMDCES: Setting our priorities right

The election of metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs) is one of the issues that have engaged the attention of all Ghanaians in formal and informal circles for some time now.


The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) reported on October 1, 2021, in the findings of a survey it conducted on local government and related issues that 76 per cent of the respondents preferred the election of MMDCEs while 20 per cent wanted them to be appointed by the President (

The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Daniel Botwe, indicated on July 24, 2023, that they had tasked the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) to facilitate consensus building for the election of MMDCEs (

In its editorial of July 26, 2023, the Daily Graphic, referencing the statement of the Minister, noted that “An important national conversation such as the election of MMDCEs can never be glossed over or be a back-burner issue”. (

The Deputy Minister-designate for Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr Vincent Ekow Assafuah “reignited” the issue, according to a GNA report of March 11, 2024 (

Ghana will benefit greatly if the print media and other news outlets give the election of MMDCEs equal attention as they do other issues in their reportage. Traditional rulers, religious and opinion leaders, the academia, political commentators and, indeed, the entire country would equally need to consider this as a matter of primary national interest.

Ghanaians would be more satisfied with our Parliamentarians and take them seriously if they were to consider the amendment of the Constitution for the election of MMDCEs, and other needed amendments, with a similar passion and speed as they do with other Bills.

Decentralisation of governance is fundamental to the country’s progress and development. Besides, people are yearning for the review of the Constitution. It is helpful to be realistic, pragmatic and visionary on national issues rather than to be driven by emotions and self-serving interests.


Some of the benefits of the above are that:

• The decentralisation of governance will help to effectively address local needs, as the people would be actively engaged in decision-making and implementation processes. Such a step will end the era of tying development to the manifestoes and machinations of political parties, thereby taking the wind out of the sail of politicians who usually place the interests of their parties over and above real national issues.

• The election of MMDCEs will relieve the Central Government of carrying the burden of the entire nation. 
Ensuring that local governments are truly independent will enable the respective communities to set their local priorities, for they know their needs better than the Central Government, and in some cases even better than the Parliamentarians who represent these communities.

• Electing local government officials will promote accountability and help to curb mismanagement and corruption, as these and other issues would be monitored at close range, instead of the remotely controlled monitoring system.

• Decentralising governance will help create jobs and minimise rural-urban migration. Such a system can further engender healthy development competition amongst districts and municipalities.

• Decentralising our current system of governance will clearly distinguish the functions of MMDCEs from those of parliamentarians. This will enable parliamentarians to focus on their constitutionally mandated duty of legislation.

Though parliamentarians may lobby for projects for their constituencies, the actual management and supervision must be left to local authorities. There are dynamic and more efficient MMDCEs who can initiate and supervise projects better than some sector ministers. 


Some people are normally apprehensive about change. But things cannot always be done the same way! New and emerging challenges require new methods of addressing them.

The election of the leaders “of the people, by the people, on the local level” is a practical and realistic expression of participatory democracy. Those who may doubt the viability of such a system of governance, namely the election of MMDCEs, need to appreciate that society is dynamic. My plea is to put to the test that which has not been tested.

The writer is a Catholic Priest residing in Bahamas.
E-mail:  [email protected]

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