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Election of DCEs: Professional bodies, trade unions must join debate - PPP

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Asamoah SiawThe Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has called on the leaders and members of the country’s professional associations and trade unions to participate in the current debate on the mode of appointment/election of MMDCEs.

According to the PPP, the professional groups and trade unions were major stakeholders in the country and must contribute to shaping the reform agenda. 

The Progressive People;s Party( (PPP)  therefore, appealed to the Ghana Journalist Assocoatio ((GJA,) ) Ghana Medical Association (GMA)  University Teachers Association of Ghana ( UTAG,)  National Association of Graduate Teachers (( NAGRAT),)  Ghana National Association of Teachers ( GNAT),  Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Trade Union Congress ( TUC), Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association ( GIBA), accountants, bankers, musicians, NUGS and all other groups to express their views and demand from government and parliament the best local government structure they expect Ghana to adopt.

Sharing the party’s perspective, Mr Kofi Asamoah-Siaw, National Secretary of the PPP said specifically, the professional associations and trade unions must weigh the kind of governance structure to be adopted at the metropolitan/municipal/district assembly level.

The matter will be brought before Parliament by the Constitution Review Implementation Committee when the House resumes in May 2013.

Mr Asamoah-Siaw said the PPP recognised the contributions the professional bodies and the trade unions had made in the past and particularly the role they played in rejecting dictatorship saying “ We know that they made their views known in their collaboration and consultation with bodies such as the Constitution Review Commission and other state institutions.”

However, he said it was the belief of the PPP that the time had come for these two important stakeholders to speak openly and express their opinions on major constitutional reform agenda.

“Politics is about the conduct of state affairs and it should not be left in the hands of political parties and politicians alone”, he stated and urged all citizens to offer suggestions on the best administrative mechanism to be adopted in the management of state affairs.

 “It is in this spirit of citizens’ involvement in the governance of our country that we invite the professional bodies and trade unions to make their voices, opinions and suggestions heard on the ongoing debate on the modalities for appointing/electing the MMDCEs. The choice of mechanism for appointing/electing the MMDCEs should not be left to the President and the Minister of Local Government & Rural Development to determine for us all”, the party stated.

It said the absence of their useful, non-partisan views on the subject matter created the impression that the issue concerned only political parties and their members.

“While the members of these groups may belong to different political parties, the issue at stake goes beyond political parties; it borders on the adoption of an efficient mode of governance system that guarantees effective development at the local level and promotes participatory democracy for all citizens and not members of some political parties”, Mr Asamoah-Siaw stated, adding “They should not be discouraged by the possible political vilification and vitriolic attacks but consider the national interest and offer useful suggestions. They cannot afford to fail this nation by their silence on the matter”.

It is the belief of the PPP that the direct election of all categories of MMDCEs will empower to the people, promote development and ensure local accountability.

“We believe the government’s position for the President to nominate a minimum of five persons who would be vetted by the Public Services Commission (PSC) for competence after which three nominees would contest in a public election will not go far enough to remove the spectre of partisanship. It will also not be transparent enough to reassure Ghanaians that those who will be elected through this new process will be accountable to their constituents. We believe that this minimalistic change to the process of appointing MMDCEs does not augur well for national unity and can only fan the Winner-Takes-All mentality which is killing the development of our dear motherland Ghana”, the PPP pointed out.