Participants at the maiden regional sensitisation forum on the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCE’S) in Koforidua have called for intensive education to ensure their full participation in the process.
The participants who declared their full support for the election of the MMDCEs called for adequate resourcing of key institutions like; the National Commission for Civic Education, the Information Services Department and the Media to enable them to go through education and sensitisation for a successful implementation.
Describing the move as a novelty, participants including representatives from political parties, civil society organisations, trade associations, technical officers of the various MMDCEs and traditional authorities noted that election of MMDCE s will ensure that competent persons were put in charge of resources.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) to sensitise as well as take inputs from the cross section of people as part of the road map to the election of MMDCEs in 2019 in fulfilment of the NPPs 2016 election campaign.
While participants raised concerns over the heightened tension and monetisation that characterised Ghana’s electioneering process, they were of the view that with clear and defined criteria for eligibility and the processes leading to the election, it would be a major achievement in Ghana’s democratic dispensation.
The election of the MMDCEs which is proposed to begin in 2019 would end the 30-year system of a President nominating a chief executive from his political party and abolish the Electoral College made up of few Assembly members to endorse a President’s nominee.
In her opening remarks, Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), said Government was determined to make the election of the MMDCEs on partisan basis contrary to the article 55 (3) which had been in existence for the past 30 years.
She observed that election of MMDCEs was in conformity with international democratic practices, which Ghana for a long time had not had the courage to implement adding that “we stand to gain as a nation by getting competent persons to manage our resources prudently for the collective benefit of all”
According to the Minister, Ghana would take its democracy to another level when “it is possible that some MMDCEs would not be from the party of the ruling government and therefore the people will hold them accountable”
Again he said the election would give MMDCEs security of tenure because once elected ones could not be sacked or suspended, until the four-year term was over and the people would decide with their thumbs.
However, she said the public financial management law and laws of accountability would be applied strictly to ensure that nobody took advantage of the fact that the he or she could not be fired or suspended by the President.
Professor Atsu Aryee, from the Institute of the Democratic Dispensation (IDEG) said the election of the MMDCEs was long overdue and commended President Akufo Addo for his consistency and commitment towards the implementation of a campaign promise.
He explained that even though people had raised concerns about the partisan nature of the election of the MMDCEs, he observed that it would give an impetus to the decentraliSation process adding “we should not play the ostrich because even the current that makes it non-partisan we always see political interference”.
According to Professor Aryee, the processes involving laying of the bill at parliament, gazzeting and the referendum was time consuming and therefore urgeD the Ministry to ensure that all stakeholders fast tracked their roles to meet the 2019 timelines for the referendum and the election itself.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Kwakye Dafuor thanked the stakeholders for their impressive inputs and comments and expressed the hope that the final document would be a product of Ghanaians.