Politics of Tuesday, 2 October 2018
The Majority Chief Whip, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, has backed the proposal for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to be elected on a partisan basis.
According to him, such a process will only reinforce the system that has long-existed at the local level.
He said despite the constitution stipulating that the election of assembly members be done on a non-partisan basis, political parties already play an active role in the election of assembly members hence the approach must be formalized.
“What we are saying is that, like it or not, the District Assembly Members are selected on partisan basis, even though the constitution says it is non-partisan,” he said.
Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, who is also a former National Secretary for the National Association of Local Authorities (NALAG), described as pretense calls for the district-level elections to remain non-partisan.
“We cannot continue to pretend that district assembly elections are not partisan. Every political activist, whether MP, Minister or party executive, they try to ensure that their people win. When you visit any of the assemblies and ask the staff how many NPP people or NDC people they have at the assembly, they can give you the statistics, so we are just pretending.”
The better approach is to open it up, let the parties go in and contest, so the assembly members must themselves contest on party basis, then the Chief Executives or Mayors must also contest on party basis,” he said.
Deputy Minister for Local Government, O.B Amoah, had also justified the call for the election to be opened to political parties.
In an earlier interview on Citi TV‘s Point of View, he said making the election of MMDCEs non-partisan will breed chaos.
“If you want to elect MMDCEs and it is non-partisan, it might be chaotic. We may end up with so many candidates. In a district we may end up with about seven contestants…and no one can stop them because it is nonpartisan, you cannot say one person should step down,” he said.
Election of MMDCEs
During the campaign for the 2016 elections, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and President Akufo-Addo promised to ensure the election of local assembly officers to promote accountability and good governance.
The party, until recently, however failed to clarify whether the election will be done on a partisan basis or not, a situation, Mr. Amoah believes has largely contributed to delays in the election of MMDCEs.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) has already presented to Parliament a bill on the amendment of some articles in the 1992 Constitution.
The amendments when passed will allow Ghanaians to vote for MMDCEs.
The articles slated for amendment are Article 243 (1) on the appointment of MMDCEs by the President and Article 55 (3), which prohibits the involvement of political parties in district level elections.
The bill was submitted to Parliament by the MLGRD following nation-wide consultations on the matter of election of MMDCEs. There were also discussions with a cross-section of governance experts and traditional leaders in all 10 regions of the country.
The stage is now set for a nation-wide sensitization on the matter as well as changes to entrenched constitutional provisions in relation to that.
The Government has proposed a referendum on the election of MMDCEs for next year.
The referendum must have at least 40 per cent of registered voters turning out to vote and 75 per cent of that number endorsing the measure in accordance with Article 290 (4).