A Deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah, has reignited the debate on the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
He reiterated that the election of MMDCEs was a critical area of political decentralization to draw lessons from the bold step the government took between 2018 and 2019 to take away the power of the president to appoint them and allow their election through the system of multi-party democracy.
“Regrettably, when it appeared major stakeholders who had initially endorsed the new phase of critical aspect of political decentralisation called for rejection of the Bill, the president asked for processes to be aborted with withdrawal of the Bill for the referendum and regarding the repeal of Article 55(3), the president called for national consensus on the issue,” Mr Amoah asserted.
He reignited the debate in Accra at the opening of a two-day multi-stakeholder conference on governance reforms in Ghana on the theme: ‘Forging Consensus towards Local Government Reforms in Ghana’, was organised by the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana) in collaboration with the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) and the Civil Society Coalition for Local Government Reforms.
“The government is focused on deepening local level democracy and participation through active involvement of the citizenry, other stakeholders’ improving administrative and human resource capacity of local government system, structures for quality service delivery, enhancing fiscal systems and financial administration at all levels,” Mr Amoah contended.
Professor Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, indicated that the election of MMDCEs was critical in deepening democratic credentials because other African countries such as Sierra Leone and Uganda, which came to study Ghana’s local government system were now electing their MMDCEs.
Dr Kojo Asante, Director for Advocacy and Policy Engagement, CDD-Ghana, revealed that a study conducted indicated of the 6,000 Assembly members in the country only 460 were women which was a real challenge with inclusion at local government level.
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director, IDEG, observed that forging consensus business towards the election of MMDCEs was a critical issue the president had put on the table in his address to the nation in April and both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) were interested in deepening decentralisation processes but only differed with regards to issue of election of MMDCEs.