MMDCEs will be elected at assembly polls- Hajia Maham

Hajia Alima Mahama, Local Government and Rural Development Minister-designate,

Hajia Alima Mahama, Local Government and Rural Development Minister-designate,

The election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) will come off during the next local assembly polls, the Local Government and Rural Development Minister-designate, Hajia Alima Mahama has stated.

This however would only be possible if the necessary legislations and entrenched aspects of the constitution which bars election of MMDCEs are amended, she added.

According to her, the government was committed to fulfilling its campaign promise to elect MMDCEs so as to ensure accountability at the local level.

Appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament in Accra on Monday, Hajia Mahama said processes to have legislations to support that move would be initiated soon.

“We are committed to the election of MMDCEs in the next two years and we would work towards that” she stressed.

She said Article 55(3) of the 1992 constitution remained the stamping block in the government’s way in rolling out the idea and that government would prepare the needed legislations to have a referendum to amend that article.

It reads that “Subject to the provisions of this article, a political 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 to District Assemblies or lower local government units.”

She said the Direct Principles of State Policy and Article 42 of the constitution supports the government’s point to allow the citizenry elect their local leaders in line with their constitutional rights.

On what could be done to make the assemblies more responsible in delivering their mandate, Hajia Alima Maham said enforcement of by-laws and institutional discipline in handling their own funds was critical.

The nominee said she will champion the introduction of the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), a public financial management initiative to check public spending, at the local levels if confirmed.

On the creation of new regions and the subsequent appointment of a minister to lead that campaign promise, Hajia Alima endorsed the appointment.

She said creating a new region involved a lot of work and that the appointment of a minister of state to do that would allow her focus on the assemblies and rural development.

The minister-designate discredited claims that the appointment of a minister to tackle sanitation, a duty of the local government ministry in previous administrations, would duplicate her duties.

In her opinion, sanitation remains a major challenge of the country and that the appointment of the new ministers of state would compliment her functions.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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