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General News of Monday, 29 July 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

‘Election of MMDCEs long over due, amend Bill now’ – Coalition to MPs

A group calling itself the Civil Society Organizations Coalition on the National Referendum and election of MMDCEs, (CSO-CoNaFEM) is urging Parliament to expedite actions to amend Article 243 (1) of the Constitution.

The Bill, which seeks to amend an article of the constitution, if passed, will make it constitutional to have MMDCES elected on partisan basis.

This week, parliament once again debated the Bill which falls in line with a major campaign promise of the New Patriotic Party in the run-up to the 2016 election.

A statement released by the group encouraged both the Minority and Majority not to waste time and agree on a bi-partisan approach to amend the bill to consolidate the country’s democratic credentials.

“CSO-CoNaFEM is calling on both political parties to ensure a bi-partisan consensus to amend this provision to get MMDCEs elected in order to improve local democracy and popular participation in governance at the local level. The proposal to give power to the people to elect their own Chief Executives is long overdue. Electing MMDCEs is key to improving grassroots democracy, ensuring popular participation and improving accountability and governance at the local level. In past elections, almost every political party promises to ensure MMDCEs are popularly elected.”

“The time is now. The coalition urges our honourable MPs – both the NDC and NPP, to put the national interest ahead of all other considerations and fulfil the wishes of the people by voting overwhelmingly in favour of this amendment. We believe this will be the beginning of democratic synergy between the mode of electing national and local leaders.”

Government has stated that its commitment to see to a constitutional election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) is on course.

To this end, it has indicated that the Electoral Commission (EC) has set Tuesday, December 10, 2019, for a referendum for the polls.

The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama says that the road map for the development of the different phases of the election of MMDCE’s is being worked on.