The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, has reaffirmed government’s commitment to the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) on partisan basis.
She said a process had been initiated to bring about the necessary constitutional, legal, policy and institutional changes to ensure that “MMDCEs are elected on partisan basis.”
“The need for a change in the mode of appointing MMDCEs has been identified as a governance gap in our local governance system as it has been argued that it is undemocratic to superimpose a national government structure that is contested on political lines over a local government system that is non-partisan”, she said.
Hajia Mahama was speaking at a sensitisation and awareness raising workshop on the election of MMDCEs in Ghana last Tuesday in Cape Coast.
The workshop sensitised key stakeholders such as traditional authority leaders, opinion leaders, faith-based organisations, parliamentarians and vulnerable groups in the society to the roles and responsibilities of MMDCEs that warranted their election on partisan basis and to prepare them for the necessary constitutional and legal changes required.
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Hajia Mahama said in line with international best practice of allowing citizens to elect their local leaders, the election of MMDCEs would give meaning to popular participation in governance by allowing the MMDCEs to truly represent the central government as required by law and not the President.
She said the election on partisan basis would create a platform for competent persons to stand for election as MMDCEs, adding that it will also reduce the incidents of having unpopular candidates selected as MMDCEs by the assemblies and minimise the alleged corruption associated with the approval of nominees by assemblies.
“An elected MMDCE will have the confidence and security of tenure necessary to insist on medium to long-term local development when this is sought to be sacrificed by the centre for short term and selfish interests”, she added.
The Acting National Coordinator of the Local Governance Network (LOGnet), Mr Christopher Dapaah, said Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) had endorsed the rationale of the election of MMDCEs
He stated that if Ghana’s decentralisation was intended to promote a more consultative and participatory approach towards the realisation of social and economic development at the local level, then the need for electing MMDCEs was paramount.
“A key aspect of measuring state- citizens relationship is the involvement of citizens in the decision-making process,” he said.
Regional based consultations would be held in all the 10 regions of Ghana between March and November 2018 while special groups would be met separately at the national level.
National level consultations would be held for other key national level institutions and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), which would be climaxed with a final national stakeholder validation meeting in Accra to build a final national consensus pact on the election of MMDCEs on partisan basis.