Ghanaians urged to vote Massively for Yes on Dec. 17 to pave way for election of MMDCEs

In efforts to ensure that, Metropolitan, Municiapal,and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) are elected than been appointed by the President, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is calling on all Ghanaians to vote massively Yes for the referendum come December 17 this year.

The call by the Ministry is as a result of its conviction that, the election of MMDCE will drastically transform and speed up the development of communities and the country as a whole.

Therefore made a passionate appeal to all Ghanaians to exercise their franchise by coming out in their numbers, hence to the voting centres on December 17, 2019 to vote YES in the referendum that will give them the opportunity to elect their MMDCEs.

This canvassing of Yes vote agenda was strongly made by the Sector Minister Hajia Alima Mahama and her three Deputies; Kwasi Adjei-Boateng, Collins Augustine Ntim and Osei Bonsu Amoah during an interaction with editors of selected media houses in Accra.

Meanwhile, Ghana has implemented the decentralisation and local governance system since 1988.

Speaking at the Editor’s Forum, Hajia Mahama indicated that, though significant progress have been made in the local governance system, there are few grey areas that required improvement for participatory governance and local democracy to be deepened.

To her, various surveys have identified governance gap that, to address it, citizens have opted to elect their MMDCEs.

Stressing that, the election of MMDCEs on partisan basis would be a key solution to the ‘winner-takes-all’ syndrome plaguing Ghana’s democratic environment.
Inclusive governance

Noting that, the practice of governing party the sole privilege to nominate MMDCEs would end, making way for inclusive governance, with all political parties enjoying a level playing field to present a candidate for election on a universal adult suffrage basis.

The Minister, Hajia Mahama however, explained that “although this is not the only solution to completely solve the ‘winner-takes-all’ syndrome, with this system, when a party wins an election, the President will not have to appoint the MMDCEs.

Adding that, some MMDCEs’ seats would be occupied by the opposition parties, and this would deepen democracy and bring inclusiveness.

Touching on consultation, the Sector Minister, Hajia Mahama revealed that, her Ministry have consulted all key stakeholders on the best possible ways of having local leaders elected on partisan basis.

To ensure smooth referedum, Article 243 (1) and Article 55 (3) are slated for amendment which will pave way for the election of MMDCEs.

Article 243 (1) speaks of the appointment of MMDCEs by the President whilst Article 55 (3), prohibits the involvement of political parties in district-level elections.

For the referedum to take effect, Article 290 (4), at least 40 per cent of the citizens are expected to vote at the referendum with 75 per cent of them backing the bill to be passed by Parliament and assented to by the President.

Therefore, Hajia Mahama was hopeful that once two thirds of parliament votes to amend Article 55 (3), which prohibits the involvement of political parties in district-level elections, political parties would be gingered to rally their members to vote YES.

Interestingly, the Minister and her deputies revealed that, political parties sponsor candidates for district level elections despite the constitutional ban, hence an open secret.

Explaining that, when it is made partisan, the number of candidates to contest would be less since every political party would present just one candidate.

This, they believe is preferred to making the election non-partisan for hundreds of candidates to apply for a district and make the process chaotic.

The Minister and her Deputies played down fears that elected MMDCEs who have the ambition of contesting as Members of Parliament (MP) could sabotage sitting MPs.

According to them, elected MMDCEs who aspire to be retained would rather focus on delivering development instead of sabotaging MPs.

Source: Ishmael Barfi

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