Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, says President Akufo-Addo deserves commendation for initiating the process that would lead to the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) on partisan basis.
“Let’s be realistic, very few persons would be willing give away the power to appoint and to have direct influence on local governance. The President is giving away his power to appoint more than 200 MMDCEs,” she said.
Hajia Alima Mahama, who was interacting with participants at the second Regional sensitization workshop on the first time election of MMDCES in Ghana held in Ho, the Volta Regional Capital, said, “the President is giving power back to the people. In fact, he is guided by the fact that real power belongs to people.”
The workshop sought to among others build consensus on how to deepen local democracy and good governance with the election of MMDCEs on partisan basis.
Similar workshops which would be organised countrywide under the Minister’s watch, also sensitized key stakeholders on their required roles in the upcoming referendum to amend the 1992 constitution for the MMDCEs to be elected on partisan basis.
Participants including current and former Assembly and Unit Committee members, Chiefs and traditional authority leaders, Opinion leaders, Faith-based organisations, Civil Society groups and Vulnerable groups such Persons With Disability(PWDs), women, economic and youth groups were exposed to the required functions of MMDCEs within Ghana’s decentralization system.
She assured that as the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, she would play her role of delivering on the New Patriotic Party’s(NPP) manifesto promise on behalf of the government by guiding the processes and activities leading to the election of MMDCEs on partisan basis in Ghana.
Build consensus on MMDCEs election – IDEG
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Kwesi Jonah, has called for political parties to build consensus on the election of MMDCEs.
He said there was the need to adopt a “national position” on that for it to work in the interest of democracy.
Mr. Jonah was speaking at a sensitisation workshop on the election of MMDCEs held in Ho.
“Electing MMDCEs to improve local democracy and good governance” was the theme chosen for the workshop.
Mr. Jonah asked the parties to overcome the polarisation and division – to find a common ground, adding that, this was in the interest of everybody.
“The case for electing of MMDCEs is clear. All the parties are for it. It is time for us to feel that sense of oneness. It is not the idea of any single individual person. It is something we all want and must work in togetherness for it.”
Hajia Alima Mahama said that was going to strengthen the local governance.
It would whip up interest in local government and help to bridge, what she termed “the governance gap”.
The other high points of the election of the MMDCEs were the security of tenure and bringing down the political “exclusion and winner takes all politics”.
Mr. Osei Bonsu Amoah, a Deputy Minister at the Ministry, repeated that a referendum to decide on this would be held alongside the district level election in September, next year.
He encouraged strong support by all stakeholders.
The Ministry was consulting widely and working on the amendment of relevant articles in the 1992 Constitution including the Political Parties Act, District Level Election Act for a smooth exercise.