Feature Article of Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Columnist: Thompson, Kofi
For Election To The Position Of District Chief Executive - Not The President
By Kofi Thompson
It is unfortunate that every time they are presented with a rare historic opportunity to effect lasting change - which will benefit present and future generations - so many members of our political class allow short-term political considerations to cloud their judgement - leading them to forgo the opportunity to impact society positively, and, above all, to be on the right side of history.
Recent news that District Chief Executives (DCE) are to be elected in the not too distant future - when the constitution is amended - must be welcomed by all Ghanaians who believe in multi-party constitutional democracy.
That local-community-empowering decision, is a golden opportunity for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to redeem itself.
Alas, it failed Mother Ghana terribly, when it had a historic opportunity to make a real difference in the fight against corruption, at the time it assumed power in January 2009, but failed to seize it.
Like the New Patriotic Party (NPP) regime of President Kufuor before it, the NDC regime of President Mills missed a historic opportunity to make a difference in the fight against corruption, when it first came into office in January 2009 - by failing to establish a convention in which the president, his ministers and other high-level appointees, such as District Chief Executives (DCE), and their spouses, publicly publish their assets before assuming office, and immediately after leaving office.
It now has yet another historic opportunity that this time it should not miss - as the election of DCE's will help deepen the roots of Ghanaian democracy yet further.
If the constitution is to be amended to allow the election of District Chief Executives (DCE), it is far better that political parties, rather than a sitting president, are allowed to nominate candidates for election to the position of District Chief Executive (DCE).
By so doing, we will be able to lower the perpetually tense political temperature in our country considerably - as it is probable that candidates of all the parties in Ghana will win elections in some of the districts across the country.
That will make the opposition parties feel that they also have a stake in the running of the country.
And above all, they will be able to demonstrate to Ghanaians at the grassroots-level, in a practical manner, their suitability for being entrusted with leadership at the national level - by the performance of their parties' elected DCE's in running the District Assemblies they control around the country.
If DCE's are elected on a party political basis, they will be responsive to the needs of local people - whose welfare will be at the centre of the general scheme of things in districts across Ghana.
That cannot be a bad development for the Ghanaian polity - especially as the running of District Assemblies will be suitable training for leadership at the national level, for elected DCE's.
That is why the NDC regime of President Mills must be farsighted enough to seize what is a historic opportunity to bring democracy to the doorsteps of local communities across Ghana.
Such a development is bound to turn out to be a coveted legacy, that will forever be associated with their party, in the minds of the Ghanaian electorate - and is one that they must strive to achieve.
For that, and the reasons mentioned above (amongst many others), instead of the President of the Republic of Ghana nominating candidates for election to the position of DCE, the NDC government of President Mills, would be wise to allow Ghana's political parties to nominate candidates for election to the position of District Chief Executive. A word to the wise...
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