The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has reiterated its call on the President to redeem his pledge of allowing for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
This, the party said, would be the best legacy the president could leave for Ghanaians as his tenure comes to near end.
“In the 2016 manifesto of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) chapter 13 page 141, the President in his campaign promised to oversee the election of MMDCEs within 24 months in office to coincide with the next district assemblies’ elections in 2019. This, the Nana Akufo-Addo administration failed to fulfil because the government did not show faith and had no political will to amend the constitutional provisions to allow the election to happen,” the National Secretary of the PPP, Remy Paa Kow Edmundson, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
“Fast forward in the 2020 manifesto of the NPP, chapter 2 page 19 under good governance, the President again pledged to pursue vigorously the national decentralisation programme, a position the President emphasised in the 2021 state of the nation address,” he added.
Mr Edmundson therefore reminded the President that pursuing a vigorous national decentralisation programme could only mean allowing citizens to decide who led them at the district assembly level as chief executive, thus his pledge must be redeemed.
“We believe if citizens are competent enough to elect a President and a Member of Parliament, they must be granted same opportunity to also elect their chief executives at the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies.”
“We want to reiterate our call for the amendment of Article 243(1) by Parliament to enable the election of MMDCEs. Also, Article 252 (2) should be amended by Parliament to increase the allocation of district assemblies common fund to not less than 10 per cent of total revenues of Ghana to the assemblies in order to adequately resource them,” he said.
This, the PPP National Secretary said, was the only way to ensure accountability and development brought to the various districts, adding that it was time citizens were allowed to hold accountable, leaders at the districts and also reduce the powers of the executives in the local governance system so that the people benefit from the democratic dividends.
In 2019, President Akufo-Addo pulled the brakes on the referendum on the election of MMDCEs.
But the President could not be blamed for halting the process, because he wanted a non-partisan consensus on the issue when he realised there was no consensus, he had no option but to halt the process.
As part of the reforms, the NPP government sought an amendment to Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to allow for multiparty participation in the districts, while amending Article 243 (1) to pave way for the election of MMDCEs.
However, the national referendum scheduled for December 17, 2019, was truncated for lack of adequate public knowledge and broad-based consensus on the reforms.
The situation compelled the government to withdraw the two bills that sought to amend Articles 55(3), an entrenched provision in the 1992 Constitution and 243(1).
The two Bills were seeking to allow the participation of political parties in local level elections by being able to sponsor candidates and to also make the election of MMDCEs possible by taking away the powers of the President to appoint them.
In a recent survey by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), 76 per cent of Ghanaians wanted the election of MMDCES, while 71 per cent of them wanted the election to be conducted on non-partisan basis.
Currently, MMDCEs are appointed by the President with the approval of not less than two-thirds majority of the members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting.