The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development on Monday, unveiled the roadmap for the implementation process of the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) on partisan basis.
The roadmap is designed in phases, with activities to be implemented on annual basis running from 2017 to 2021; namely pre-referendum activities, referendum activities and post-referendum activities.
A successful implementation of the roadmap would culminate in a referendum in September 2019, leading to the maiden MMDCEs’ election by June/July 2021, and their subsequent swearing in by August, 2021.
Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, who unveiled the roadmap at a news conference in Accra, said the need for a change in the mode of appointing MMDCEs, had been highlighted as a deficit in Ghana’s democratic governance by various reports.
She said the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) report called for a change in the manner of appointing MMDCEs in accordance with the new democratic dispensation.
Hajia Mahama said the recent Afrobarometer report (2017) by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the various African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) reports showed that majority of Ghanaians were in favour of the election of MMDCEs.
She said to close this deficit, deepen local democracy and bring good governance to Ghanaians, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its 2016 election manifesto promised to elect MMDCEs.
“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave firm instructions and commitment to have MMDCEs elected at both Cabinet and in the 2018 State of the Nation Address,” Hajia Mahama said.
Hajia Mahama, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Nelerigu Gambaga, explained that to make the office of MMDCEs electable, the constitutional impediment to this, in article 55 of the 1992 constitution, an entrenched clause had to be removed.
On the rationale behind the election of MMDCEs, Hajia Mahama mentioned that it would promote democracy by affording local people the opportunity to choose their own leaders, giving meaning to popular participation in governance.
She said it would ensure security of tenure for MMDCEs, once elected – reduced tension by MMDCEs and Members of Parliament; adding that it would also reduce exclusion and ‘winner takes all syndrome’, thereby deepening democracy.
The Minister said pre-referendum activities undertaken in 2017 were the establishment of Election of MMDCEs Committee and the Review of the Legislations and Preparation of Background Documents.
She also mentioned pre-referendum activities in 2018 as conduction of 10 Regional Consultations and Sensitisation to raise awareness and prepare for the referendum.
Others are undertaking media engagements on the election of MMDCEs and meeting with special groups in Accra on election of MMDCEs.
Hajia Mahama said in 2019 a bill on the election of MMDCEs would be sent to Parliament for first reading; paving the way for the referendum in September 2019 alongside the District Level Elections.
The Minister explained that Article 290 (4) requires that; at least 40 per cent of persons entitled to vote, voted at the referendum and at least 75 percent, who voted, cast their votes in favour of the Bill.
“The Bill is approved, Parliament shall pass it. The Bill so Passed by Parliament Shall be assented to by the President,” she said.
She said post referendum activities in 2020 would include; the amendment of key consequential laws such as Article 242, 243 and 248 of the 1992 constitution, Local Government Act 2016, (Act 936) and the Constitutional Instrument (CI) on District Assembly Elections.
She urged the media to support the orientation, sensitisation and education of citizens on the referendum.
“The President has taken a bold initiative to give out part of his power to ensure that our democracy is deepened at all levels. Let us all join him to successfully deliver on this important democratic principle,” Hajia Mahama said.
At the news conference were; Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, Minister of Information and the three Deputy Ministers of Local Government and Rural Development – Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, Mr Collins Ntim and Mr Kwasi Boateng Agyei.