A former Local Government Minister, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, believes government’s decision to relieve all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) of their appointments on Thursday was impulsive.
He described government’s approach to purging the local government of its heads as akin to a “coup mentality.”
Speaking on Eyewitness News, he reiterated the arguments that, keeping the MMDCEs in the short-term ensures there is stability until there’s a substantive Local Government minister.
“I believe this decision was very harsh. It was taken in a very rash manner,” Mr. Ofosu Ampofo stressed.
The Local Government minister nominee, Hajia Alima Mahama, indicated that the termination of the appointments of all MMDCEs was to ensure a uniformity of vision at the national and sub-national level.
Hajia Mahama also argued that the termination of appointment was to ensure the Assemblies don’t take key decisions that were not in tandem with the policy outlook of government.
Mr. Ofosu Ampofo, however, said the erstwhile John Evans Attah Mills administration in 2009, maintained MMDCEs in the short-term whilst ensuring that they did not compromise the government’s vision.
He reminded that “in President Mills’ time, some order was given that you are at post but you are not supposed to take any decision of maybe awarding contracts or payments, so the parameters were defined.”
Danger in electing MMDCEs
Mr. Ofosu Ampofo also warned about the possible downsides of electing MMDCEs as promised by the new government.
“Already, we are living in a very polarized environment and one of the threads that have kept us together is our local government and decentralization system which operates on a non-partisan basis, and gives people the opportunity to play their role in the governance process in that non-partisan manner,” he said.
“Any attempt to make local elections partisan must tread very cautiously in order not to polarize this country from top to down,” the former Local Government Minister cautioned.
Mr. Ofosu Ampofo advised that such a move would require “a lot of debate and argument and depends on arrangements that would be put in place.”
He thus advocated for the sustenance of the current system that sees MMDCEs appointed by the president.
“The system as we have now has kept this country together. It has built national cohesion at the bottom of development and it has ensured that there is balanced and even distribution of resources at the local level.”
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana