Leaders of political parties have agreed on open discussions on local governance reforms to help skeptics of the reforms fully appreciate how multi-party local governance will be a better local government system that will work for the benefit of all.
Relaying the information in a statement issued yesterday the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, said in a bid to ensure frank discussions on the reforms, “the IDEG met with the NDC in September last year and August this year and has planned to meet them again later this year.”
He added that there had also been several meetings with the leadership of the smaller parties.
“Various consultations are being held with political parties on the importance of constitutional amendments aimed at the reform of local government through the introduction of multi-party politics.
“Party executives, including the general secretaries, have held discussions with IDEG and facilitated meetings with other executive members and IDEG’s message has so far been well received.
“Our most recent engagement was with the General Secretary, executives and MPs of the NPP, where they collectively expressed their willingness and commitment to promote public education and provide support for the idea, so that the forthcoming referendum will not only be successful but also lead expeditiously to follow-up reforms,” he said.
Mr Akwetey said IDEG had been a long-standing advocate of direct popular election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) along party lines, not just to strengthen inclusiveness and accountability in local governance but also deepen democracy at the local level and accelerate local economic development.
He indicated that it was in line with IDEG’s ongoing advocacy work in support of the implementation of party-based election of MMDCEs that the institute had embarked on a series of consultations and advocacy work to ensure a positive outcome in next year’s referendum for the amendment of Article 55 (3) to enable political party participation in district elections.
“The engagement with political parties has been ongoing since 2013.
However, the bold decision of the President to amend Article 55 of the Constitution and the consequent submission of the Constitutional Amendment Bill to Parliament and the Council of State are the game changers,” Dr Akwetey stressed.
He submitted that discussions held so far had been done in a frank and candid manner, under Chatham House rules, with the party executives indicating, however, that there were still questions the parties required answers to in order to fully carry out the necessary mobilisation of their members and the public towards supporting the reforms.
“It is the fervent hope of IDEG that broad-based coalition, comprising civil society organisations, former Presidents, political leaders, chiefs, religious leaders, corporate business leaders, statesmen and women, eligible citizens, among others, should work to secure a successful amendment of the Constitution.
This would pave the way for multi-party local governance in Ghana soon,” the statement concluded.