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Opinions of Thursday, 3 May 2018

Columnist: James Gunu

Election of MMDCEs is like a student trying to write final exams before mock exams

Election of MMDCEs in 2021 is like a student trying to write final exams before mock exams.

Political party based election of MMDCEs in Ghana for the first time since the introduction of local governance and decentralization in 1988, would have served as election mock exams for the 2020 general elections to elect President and parliamentarians.

The NPP government realising it was bound to loose in majority of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies has decided to shift that election beyond the 2020 general elections.

In fact the NPP would have suffered huge defeat in the hands of the NDC, if MMDCEs were elected before 2020 a situation that would send bad signals and have lots of implications and influence on the 2020 elections

Even though the NDC still believes recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee on the election of MMDCEs was what the country needed now, it would have still participated if the election was based on political parties.

The argument has to do with unfulfilled promise and not the benefits this nation would derived when MMDCEs are elected as against what persist currently.

Is it true that electing MMDCEs would only benefit the nation and not the government of the day the NPP?

In any case, many Ghanaians who woke up early down, stood in the sun and voted for Nana Addo - Bawumia led NPP government based on the promise that MMDCEs would be elected are disappointed. Meanwhile, vote once cast can only be "retrieved cast" after four years.

H.E the president Nana Addo upon assumption of office in 2017 toured parts of the country and met with various groupings including traditional authorities and I mean regional house of chiefs where he made it clear that, his government would ensure the election of MMDCEs.

The president opening an orientation training workshop for his newly appointed MMDCEs at the Institute of Local Government Studies in Madina Accra, made a categorical statement that, the election of MMDCEs would be held in 2018.

Hon O.B Amoah, deputy minister for Local Government and Rural Development quickly came out to say no, the President got it wrong, the election of MMDCEs would come off together with the election of assembly members and unit committees in 2019.

After that we were told that, the Prez met with former Presidents H Es John Rawlings, John Kufour and John Mahama, and later with leadership of various political parties and top on the agenda was the election of MMDCEs.

In his address to parliament in January 2018, on the state of the nation, President Nana Addo called for referendum on direct election of MMDCEs.

The NPP's 2016 Manifesto on local government states amongst other things that, the "NPP will oversee direct election of MMDCEs within 24 months of election into office, to coincide with the next District Assembly elections in 2019"

It would be recalled that, even before she could be vetted by parliament as substantive minister for the ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama issued a letter sacking all the Mahama MMDCEs.

She later went to parliament and got Section 10 of the Local Governance Act t of 2016, Act 936, ammended, and quickly revoked appointment all government appointees to the MMDAs and replaced them across the country.

Why can't the NPP government apply the same zeal to cause the election of MMDCEs in 2018 as stated by the President or in 2019 according to Hon OB Amoah.

They will try to use the constitution as an excuse as if they only got to know these aspects of the constitution after they had made those promises.

Articles 55 (3), 243 of the 1992 Constitution Section 20 of the local governance act of 2016, act 936 and any other relevant legislations can't be a hindrance if this government work the talk s.

Where are the Media Coalitions and Civil Society Organizations in this very important area where development evolves.
Local Governance and Decentralization is one of the best tools for accelerated development, hence best standards and practices needed to be encouraged within globally accepted frameworks to achieving the SDGs.

The government must tell her citizenry the truth at all times and apologise to them when necessary bearing in mind that, they better don't write, if they can't spelled.

James Gunu,
fmr DCE, Akatsi North.