He explained that when the election becomes partisan, candidates from other political parties will have the opportunity to be elected and be part of the governance structure at the local level.
“It is way of sharing power with other political parties because the election of MMDCEs would be run as a political office with avenues opened to all political parties who are interested in sponsoring candidates for the various positions at the Assemblies,” he said.
Contributing to the debate on President Nana Akufo-Addo’s sessional address on the state of the nation in Parliament and in an interview with The Custodian, O. B. Amoah, who is also the MP for Akwapim South, added that the election of MMDCEs will promote local democracy by affording local people the opportunity to choose their own leaders.
This, according to him, will give meaning to popular participation in governance by allowing MMDCEs to truly represent the Central Government required by law and not represent the President.
The NPP is fulfilling its 2016 manifesto promise to make election of the MMDCEs partisan.
It will make this possible through a referendum next year to amend Article 55 (3), which is an entrenched provision in the 1992 Constitution.
The governing NPP had argued that the current mode of appointing MMDCEs by the President and endorsed by members of the Assemblies, which has been practiced since 1988, has not promoted the required good governance, local democracy and accountability desired by the local people.
“Mr Speaker, political power in a democracy should be from bottom to the top and not top to the bottom,” O. B. Amoah reiterated, adding NPP government must be applauded for taking steps to fulfill its campaign promise.
According to him, the Akufo-Addo administration has a nationalistic agenda to have an all-inclusive government by making the positions of MMDCEs electable.
“I don’t not understand why the office of the president is contested by candidates from political parties, that of the MP is also contested by candidates from political parties but the office of the MMDCE has been made non-partisan,” he decried.
He acknowledged the challenge that the election of MMDCES may pose such as cost and its convenience.
He however pointed out that in order to cut down the cost; President Akufo-Addo announced in his 2018 State of the Nation address that a referendum to pave way for election of MMDCEs will be held alongside the district assembly elections in 2019.
The Deputy Minister noted that if 40 percent of Ghanaians vote ‘yes’ in the referendum and 75 percent approval is given by parliament then the policy will take effect.
He said the government is committed to making the district assemblies very functional and responsive to the needs of the people at the local level.
This is because the elected MMDCEs would have the confidence and security of tenure necessary to insist on medium to long-term local development and not sacrificed by the centre for short-term and parochial interests.
Source: The Custodian