General News of Tuesday, 2 October 2018
The election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives will be chaotic if is it not conducted on a non-partisan basis, Deputy Minister for Local Government, O.B Amoah has said.
Making a case for the election to be held on a partisan basis, Mr. O.B Amoah said: “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 non-partisan, you cannot say one person should step down.”
He further indicated that the decision to make the election of MMDCEs partisan was not a new thing as most District Assembly Elections are usually held on partisan basis.
“If you have been following what is going in 1998, there were no political parties. From 1992 to till date some of us have been observers. Every District Assembly Election, we pretend it is non-partisan but parties line up against candidates. We know where each member of the Assembly stands, who brought them to the party, and which parties sponsors which candidates to be in the Assembly. Whether it is NPP or CPP. Except that the constitution does not allow it so we pretend.”
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.
“If you read carefully the manifesto says within 24 months, we will oversee the election. When we said it will coincide with the next District Assembly elections, that is September 2019, we were hoping that by September 2019, we would have finished everything to go alongside with the District Assembly elections in September 2019. However after coming into power, the President clarified that the election of the MMDCEs will be on partisan basis …
“If you read the manifesto we were not too categorical as to whether it was just partisan or non-partisan but the moment we introduced partisan basis obviously we had to amend the constitution mainly to target Article 55(3)and that meant that we had to go for a referendum. And the President in the state of the nation address, made it clear that to amend this article and conduct a referendum, it will be wise and prudent to let it coincide with the District Assembly Election and that is what we are doing. We are on course as far as the consultations and the paperwork is done. ”
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).
Nduom jabs Nana Addo
In April 2018, the Founder and leader of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Papa Kwesi Ndoum, slammed the Akufo-Addo government for postponing the implementation of the manifesto promise of ensuring that MMDCEs are elected and not appointed.
Dr Ndoum said government’s U-turn is a dent on its credibility and charged President Akufo-Addo to make good his promise.
“We have been promised, we believed it, people have gone to cast vote, power has been given to some people, but what is happening now, gives us cause for alarm,” he said.