Local government experts at the opening ceremony of a two-day event in Accra have endorsed the election of Chief Executives of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as a means of promoting local governance at the grassroots level.
According to them, the elections would allow the citizenry to hold MMDCEs accountable for management of their resources thereby bringing development to various communities under the MMDCEs’ jurisdiction.
They said the elections would be a means to improve efficiency and effectiveness of public service, minimise corruption and promote values of participatory democracy.
The programme, dubbed: ‘Star Ghana Local Governance Grant Partners Learning Event’ was under the theme: ‘Promoting effective local governance through active citizenship-emerging lessons and good practices,’ had participants drawn from various civil society organisations (CSOs) and government agencies.
The event was to create a platform for learning and sharing among stakeholders in local governance space to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of stakeholder’s actions.
The programme was under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Nana Adjei Boateng, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said despite a number of successes attained in decentralisation process, there were a number of challenges in the promotion of greater citizenry participation in local governance process.
“Certainly, the need for a change in mode of appointing MMDCEs has been identified as a governance gap in our local system. Allowing the citizenry to elect their own leaders is long overdue as current mode of appointing MMDCEs has not provided accountability they yearn for,” Mr Boateng explained.
Dr Oduro Osae, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research of the Institute of Local Government Studies, explained that MMDCEs when elected, would campaign on their manifestos, based on which they would be voted for.
“Elected MMDCEs will need resources to implement their manifestos. At the end of the day, if the common fund is not forthcoming, we will get Chief Executives who will take the government to court to make sure money comes to deliver on their manifesto promises,” he intimated.
Clara Osei-Boateng, a representative of DFID, observed that election of MMDCEs would also give the citizenry respect, recognition and accountability because they queued to get them elected rather than current arrangement where they were appointed by the president.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU