Dr Eric Oduro Osae, a local government expert has urged Members of Parliament (MPs) to unite and approve the Amendment of Article 243(1) for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
He said Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution empowered the President to appoint MMDCEs, however, its amendment would require support of MPs from both the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He said in order for the Amendment Bill to be successful, there was the need for MPs from both sides of the House to unite and approve it.
He said as part of the roadmap towards the election of the MMDCEs, there was a Bill in Parliament to amend that Article 243(1) to take the power away from the President and give it back to citizens, so that citizens would now elect MMDCEs.
“Since none of the two political parties (NDC and NPP) had the two-third majority required by the constitution to have that article amended, we need both NDC and NPP MPs to … join forces to support the amendment process,” Dr Osae stated on Tuesday in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.
He said bi-partisan support was important because both the NDC and NPP promised electing MMDCEs when they come into office.
“So, now the Bill to amend that Article to allow for the election of the MMDCEs is here, so if any of the political parties decides to chicken out, then it seems to me that they are not committed to electing MMDCEs when they are making the promise. So, this is the time for them to show commitment.”
He urged all Ghanaians to talk to their MPs, who represented them, so that later this October, they would vote to approve that Bill.
He said once Article 243 (1) was approved, the next important Article to be amended was Article 55(3).
Dr Osae, who doubles as the Technical Advisor, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development noted that Article 55(3) was an entrenched provision, so Parliament could not use its numbers to approve it.
“You will require a national referendum to be held for the whole of Ghana to approve of it before the amendment can be effective. That is why, come December 17, a referendum is going to be held on Article 55(3) and that referendum is to allow for a multi-partisan local government system in Ghana,” he said.
Dr Osae appealed to Ghanaians to come out in their numbers to vote in favour of the referendum on December 17.