The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has given a firm assurance that the appointment of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) will be resolved this month.
“In fact, during the course of the month, the names that made the ticket at the MMDCEs level will be announced,” the President disclosed this when he granted an interview with a Takoradi-based radio station, Skyy Power FM, as part of his tour of the Western and the Western North regions.
Meanwhile, the President has retained the incumbent DCE for Akontombra District in the Western North Region. He made the announcement of his first appointment when he paid a courtesy call on the chief of Akontombra, Kwabena Ebbi II at his palace yesterday.
“I want to be sure the people I am calling to help in local governance went through due process and the system in place.
“Let us not forget that at the end of the day, they will be my appointees at the local government level. In this month of September, all these matters will be resolved,” the President stated.
He insisted that there was no vacuum in local governance, as the tenure of all MMDCEs had been extended.
According to President Akufo-Addo, by his directive, the Chief of Staff had written to all the MMDCEs, asking them to remain in office and act until substantive ones were appointed, saying any suggestion that the delay in naming his representatives would affect work at the local assemblies was ill-informed.
“I gave the directive because the President has that power that people could act to fill up vacancies, pending the appointment of substantive officers. Therefore, there is no vacuum in local governance in the country. As we speak, all the 260 MMDCEs are at post,” the President said.
He described as false the impression that MMDCEs were not in place and that was creating challenges, as there would be no chief executive at the local level to prosecute government’s agenda and supervise projects, such as the health sector intervention, Agenda 111, saying “they are already there and working”.
He said it was his expectation that the people at the local level would have made the decision themselves by amending the Constitution, which he recommended, to ensure that in every district, people would elect their own MMDCE.
The President said it was his promise and intention to ensure the election of MMDCEs but, “unfortunately, those on the other side of the political divide did not agree to my proposition, but that is fine”.
The truth, he said, was not for a political party to assume office and change the Constitution to align with its focus.
“No; that is why in some of these moves you need a broad consensus within the political space, just as it was in the case of the creation of the new regions — that is why when our political opponents said they didn’t want it, we did not argue,” the President said.
“When the time comes and we all reach a consensus, that there is the way to go, that is the proper democratic process. I am still hopeful we will revisit and agree on that,” he added.
Asked if he still stood by the appointment of MMDCEs giving way to democratic process of electing the MMDCE, President Akufo-Addo said: “Of course we have to work on that. I respected the last decision because it is a process that has implications on the system – as it is now, we have to look at it again.”
He expressed the hope that by the announcement of the names, there would be a quick endorsement of the appointees by consensus so that the nation could move on from there.
Per Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, the MMDCE for every district 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 a meeting.
The tenure of MMDCEs expired in April, this year. However, the President, who is in his eighth month of his second term, has not named substantive ones.
Committees were formed at the local and the national levels to vet candidates from whom the President would select. Four names per assembly have since been submitted in a report to the President, who, according to Daily Graphic checks, has elected to read through each of the pages of the report before taking his final decision.
Last month, while on a tour of the Bono, Ahafo and Bono East regions, President Akufo-Addo had said he needed a broader consultation before the MMDCEs were selected.
Speaking in a similar radio interview, he said there was the need to solicit the ideas of party leaders, chiefs, opinion leaders, among others, on the selection of MMDCEs.