The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, has highlighted a number of benefits in electing Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), among them security of tenure.
She was speaking at a forum aimed at sensitising the public on government’s policy to shift from appointing MMDCEs into having them elected by the masses in the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga.
Top government officials have told scores of stakeholders taking part in the consultative forum to offer their support and commitment to ensure smooth implementation process of the policy.
“There are so many advantages. They include the promotion of local democracy. They [the people] would understand democracy; they would feel part of the democratic dispensation as they choose their own leaders. MMDCEs, if elected, would be more responsive and directly accountable to the people. They know that in four years they would have to come back to the people, and the people would tell him or her [to account for what he or she has done].
“There would also be security of tenure for MMDCEs if elected. Just like the MPs, they would do four years. You won’t get a group of people writing or agitating that he should be removed. They always write and agitate for him to be removed because they know he’s appointed by the President. Being elected for four years does not mean he cannot be removed. He can be removed by impeachment or if he commits a crime; but it (the action) would follow a prosecution process,” the minister said.
Regional Minister begs Traditional Authorities to support Policy
Hajia Alima added that election of MMDCEs would put an end to the winner-takes-all syndrome that had characterised Ghana’s democracy since 1992.
She also said it would increase turnout at district-level elections which, according to her, currently “stands at an average of 30-40% as against 75% to 85%”.
Welcoming participants to the forum on the theme “Electing MMDCEs for Improved Local Democracy and Good Governance”, the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, stressed the need for stakeholders, particularly the traditional authorities, to disseminate the benefits of the new policy.
“The election of MMDCEs is, without doubt, a policy that public opinion is very much in favour of. Many political leaders and governments have made the promise in the past but lacked the will to bring it to pass.
“I’m happy that this government is yet chatting another path for others to follow as we did with the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law. Let me use this opportunity to appeal to our traditional authorities and the public to cooperate with government even as the processes are being kick-started,” stated Mr. Bukari.
The forum, according to the organisers, is to “sensitise key stakeholders on their required roles in the upcoming referendum to amend the relevant constitutional provisions to make way for MMDCEs to be elected on partisan basis”.