Participants at a day’s workshop organised by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), have rekindled the debate for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
According to them, electing the MMDCEs would go a long way to deepen Ghana’s democracy and to accelerate the administrative and fiscal decentralisation process in the country.
The participants maintained that making the office of MMDCEs electable would make the Chief Executives more responsive and accountable to their constituents.
They intimated that the election of MMDCEs would enable the smaller political parties to grow, and also help curb the phenomenon of winner-takes-all.
They appealed to the two leading parties in the country; the Governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to collaborate in amending Article 243(1) and Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution to ensure the election of MMCDEs and the promotion of multiparty democracy at the local level.
The workshop, which was the last of the 16 GACC Regional Engagement Meetings with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) was attended by representatives of CSOs, district assembly men and women, the media and other stakeholders.
It sought to provide a platform for citizens to discuss governance challenges in general and anti-corruption issues specifically.
The Participants reiterated the need for the Government to institute a National Policy allocating salaries to District Assembly Members, considering their task in formulating policies and approving budgets for their local assemblies.
They argued that just as the National Assembly Members (Members of Parliament) were being paid for their works of making laws for the country, the district assembly members should also be paid for their works of making by-laws and approving budgets and other policies in their local assemblies.
The participants called for increased sensitization and education of Ghanaians on the roles of the Assembly men/women.
As part of efforts to build strong national institutions, the participants recommended that the appointment of heads of anti-corruption institutions should be based on merit.
They also called for the monitoring of the disbursement and application of District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to ensure accountability and transparency.
The participants recommended that the sections of the Auditor-General’s annual report on the 216 district Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) should be made available to members of the concerned MMDAs’ as part of efforts to promote good governance, transparency and to combat corruption at the local level.
Mr Mike Adisu, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, GACC, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency reiterated that the Project sought to collate citizen position on governance and anti-corruption issues into a national citizen’s governance reform positions document that would be used to engage the three arms of Government – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.