Stakeholders call for review of appointment of MMDCEs, Assembly members

Stakeholders at a training workshop on National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) held in Ho have reiterated the need to review the selection of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and Assembly members into local governance structure.

They debated on whether MMDCEs and Assembly members should be elected on partisan basis, with some participants arguing that election of MMDCEs would end their perennial rejection by Assembly members and do away with the system where nominees give huge ‘envelopes’ before approval.

Some of the participants said the current situation placed a lot of financial burden on the nominee MMDCEs, who ‘would do everything possible to recoup his or her money spent during the process.’

Others argued that once the candidate had been elected by the electorate, the canker would cease.

However, other participants disagreed with the suggestion of electing the MMDCEs, arguing that the status quo had to remain.

Arguing in favour of election of Assembly members, Mr.
Cletus Chevure, Kadjebi District Coordinating Director, said ‘we cannot continue pretending that assembly members don’t campaign on partisan basis’ although Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution bars them from doing so.

He said even during District Assembly Sittings, debates were at times held on partisan line, which was not supposed to be and that electing them on partisan basis would end all the pretenses.

Madam Victoria Dzeklo, the Presiding Member (PM), South Tongu District Assembly, contributing, said ‘it is time we elected MMDCEs’.

‘This will prevent the President’s nominee from paying heavy amount to assembly members for his confirmation’, she said.

Madam Dzeklo, however, disagreed with the idea of electing assembly members on partisan line because ‘it is the only opportunity for Ghanaians who do not belong to any political party to also join or participate freely or openly in choosing their community leaders.’.

Mr. Derek Adzoe, the Presiding Member of Hohoe Municipal Assembly, contributing, dis
agreed on the election of MMDCEs as ‘there will be sabotage of government policies and programmes at the local levels, especially if the Chief Executive elected is not a member of the ruling government’.

On Assembly members election, he said ‘assembly members are the agents of development in their electoral areas. They are to unite their electorates for development projects when they are elected on partisan grounds, they can’t lobby if their government is not in power.’

Meanwhile, a Centre for Democratic Development survey in 2021 shows that 76 per cent of Ghanaians favour the election of MMDCEs with only 20 per cent wanting them to be appointed by the President.

It noted that while two-thirds of respondents (71 per cent) say they prefer MMDCEs elected on non-partisan election format like that used in local government councilor’s election, only 20 per cent opted for a partisan election format.

The reasons for the preference for non-partisan election format for MMDCEs included ensuring competent persons ge
t elected (29%), promotion of inclusivity/forestalling winner takes all challenges (22%), prevention of partisan influences/conflicts (21%) and promotion of transparency and accountability (1.9%).

Among those calling for partisan election of MMDCEs, the majority believe the current format for local government election had been tainted by partisan influences and must be opted up to promote public interest in local elections.

Others (1.9 %) think it would promote responsiveness and development, ensure that competent persons get elected, promote transparency, and enable citizens to exact accountability from political parties.

President, Akufo-Addo in 2019 initiated two bills, seeking to achieve two major local gove

President authority to appoint MMDCEs to make these position electives and to hold a referendum to seek citizens support to amend the Article 55(3) of the Constitution.

However, in December 2019, the referendum was suspended for lack of broad national consensus, forcing the Attorney-General to wi
thdraw the bill.

Source: Ghana News Agency