The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Hajia Alima Mahama, has called on all political parties to lend their support and participate fully in the processes leading to the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in 2021.
She said the election of MMDCEs would enhance Ghana's democratic credentials and also inure to the benefit of the various political parties in the country, which would put forward candidates to contest the election.
" The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), in its 2016 election manifesto promised that when elected into government, it would ensure the election of MMDCEs. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Progressive People's Party (PPP) all gave the same promise to elect MMDCEs", she said
" The NPP is, therefore, only leading the process as a political party in government and it behoves all the other political parties to support and participate in the processes leading to the election of MMDCEs in the country as a way of giving power to the people at the grassroots level to elect their own leaders," she added.
Hajia Alima, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Nalerigu-Gambaga Constituency in the Northern Region, made the call at the regional consultative meeting in Tamale, last Tuesday on the first-time election of MMDCEs in Ghana.
The meeting brought together MMDCEs, coordinating directors of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), assembly members, traditional authorities, civil society organisations, the media and representatives of the various political parties to share their views on the election of MMDCEs in the country.
Hajia Alima said the consultative meeting on the election of MMDCEs was to get all and sundry on board to support the process and also to let the people understand why there was the need to elect their own leaders to lead in the development processes of their districts.
"For the past 30 years ,our Presidents have been appointing MMDCEs but the time has come for us to give power back to the people to elect their own leaders at the district level," adding that: "It is undemocratic to superimpose people on others and it is time people had the right to elect their leaders.”
The Minister of the MLGRD further cited the report of the Constitutional Review Commission which stated that 70 per cent of Ghanaians wanted to see MMDCEs elected to buttress the point that there was the need to elect MMDCEs.
The time is now
A local government expert, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, in a presentation said the time to elect MMDCEs in the country was now since it would give power back to the people at the local level and bring about the needed development.
He said since 1986, the right of the people to vote for their leaders at the grassroots level had been taken away from them and that this was the time to give that power back to the people to elect their own leaders.
The Northern Regional Minister, Mr Salifu Saeed, for his part, called on all stakeholders to attach importance to the process so that the final decision that would be taken on the election of MMDCEs would be a true reflection of the views of Ghanaians.
Some participants in the meeting raised concerns on matters that bordered on security at the district level since the MMDCEs were heads of the security committees.
But the minister in her response to the concerns raised said the National Security Council would be consulted in those matters and its advice would be brought to bear on the final decisions that would be made on the election of MMDCEs in the country.