PPP: Professionals and trade unions must join debate on DCEs

Politics of Monday, 8 April 2013

Source: PPP


The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) wishes to invite the leaders and members of the country’s Professional Associations and Trade Unions to participate in the current debate on the mode of appointment/election of MMDCEs.

The professional groups and Trade Unions are major stakeholders in the country and must contribute to shaping the reform agenda. Specifically, they must weigh in on the kind of governance structure to be adopted at the Metropolitan/Municipal/District Assembly level. The matter will be brought before Parliament by the Constitution Review Implementation Committee when the House resumes in May 2013.

We recognize the contributions the Professional Bodies and the Trade Unions have made in the past and particularly the role they have played in rejecting dictatorship. We know that they made their views known in their collaboration and consultation with bodies such as the Constitution Review Commission and other State institutions.

However, we believe the time has come for these two important stakeholders to speak openly and express their opinions on major constitutional reform agenda. Politics is about the conduct of State affairs and it should not be left in the hands of political parties and politicians alone. All citizens are expected to offer suggestions on the best administrative mechanism to be adopted in the management of State affairs.

It is in this spirit of citizens’ involvement in the governance of our country that we invite the Professional Bodies and Trade Unions to make their voices, opinions and suggestions heard on the ongoing debate on the modalities for appointing/electing the MMDCEs. The choice of mechanism for appointing/electing the MMDCEs should not be left to the President and the Minister of Local Government & Rural Development to determine for us all.

The absence of their useful, non-partisan views on the subject matter creates the impression that the issue concerns only political parties and their members. While the members of these groups may belong to different political parties, the issue at stake goes beyond political parties; it bothers on the adoption of an efficient mode of governance system that guarantees effective development at the local level and promotes participatory democracy for all citizens and not members of some political parties. They should not be discouraged by the possible political vilification and vitriolic attacks but consider the national interest and offer useful suggestions. They cannot afford to fail this nation by their silence on the matter.

We believe the direct election of all categories of MMDCEs will give power to the people for development and ensure local accountability.

We believe the government’s position for the “President to nominate a minimum of 5 persons who would be vetted by the Public Services Commission (PSC) for competence after which 3 nominees would contest in a public election.” will not go far enough to remove the spectre of partisanship. It will also not be transparent enough to reassure Ghanaians that those who will be elected through this new process will be accountable to their constituents. We believe that this minimalistic change to the process of appointing MMDCEs does not augur well for national unity and can only fan the Winner-Takes-All mentality which is killing the development of our dear motherland Ghana.

The PPP strongly appeals to the GJA, GMA, UTAG, NAGRAT, GNAT, GBA, TUC, GRNA, GIBA, Accountants, Bankers, Musicians, NUGS and all other groups to express their views and demand from government and parliament the best local government structure they expect Ghana to adopt.

Let us put Ghana first.

We are wide awake and watching!

Kofi Asamoah-Siaw National Secretary