LET’S HASTEN ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT FOR ELECTION OF MMDCEs

One of the laudable decisions made by the President Nana  Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo in his short time as President is to table a constitutional amendment to make the elections of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chef Executives (MMDCEs) possible.

That is a major achievement that would open the space for rapid socioeconomic development at the grassroots.

The President in his State-of-the-Nation  address to Parliament on February 8, outlined road map and tasked the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development with the mandate to “shepherd the constitutional amendment process” to make the reform a  which would the culminate in a referendum, in September 2019.

Governance experts maintain that the amendment of Article 55(3) would strengthen democratic stability, developmental governance and accelerate transformational and inclusive local economic development.

According to them, it is also expected to put to an end to the winner-takes-all system and replace it with amore win-win regime for all.

Giving that Article 55(3) is an entrenched clause which states “Subject to the provisions of this article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for elections to any public office other than the District Assemblies or lower local government unit,” it would require certain steps to be taken to amend it.

The procedure for amending an entrenched clause requires   a minimum of 40 percent registered voters’ turnout in referendum and 75 percent voting in favour of the amendment, after the bill has been gazetted and presented to Parliament for consideration and to the Council of State.

Despite the strenuous process to amend the clause, the President and government has shown the willingness to go ahead to amend the article to allow for the participation of political parties in local governance and the elections of MMDCEs and particularly.

As part of the roadmap and to save cost and reduce voter apathy, is has been decided that the 2019 district level elections and the referendum are held on the same day.

To ensure the success of the exercise, it is also required that a lot of public education and stakeholders’ dialogue to held to deepen public understanding.

It is in light of this that we share in the sentiments expressed by Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) about the need to expedite work on the amendment procedure, to ensure that the road map, as envisaged by the President in his State-of-the-Nation address, is on course.

The Ghanaian Times is as concerned as the IDEG that a draft Constitutional Amendment Bill in Parliament,  which must  be passed to kick start the entire process has still not be laid before Parliament as at the end of July, 2018

It is critically important for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to shepherd the process to its logical conclusion, with the holding of the referendum in September next year.

Our wish, therefore, is that the Ministry should hasten the process toward the constitutional amendment, so that we can begin the process of implementing the roadmap that would end up with the election of the MMDCEs.

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