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General News of Friday, 27 April 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Election of MMDCEs: Do not trample on citizens’ right to vote – CLGA

The Deputy Executive Director of the Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA), Gladys Tetteh has cautioned government against ridding the citizens of their rights to elect their respective Metropolitan and Municipal District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

Despite the challenges associated with this call to action, Mrs. Tetteh believes electing MMDCEs would cement Ghana’s democracy.

She made this known during a press confab at the Centre for Local Governance Advocacy.

“The CLGA will urge government to do all it can to have MMDCEs elected directly and popularly by the people to consolidate local democracy in Ghana. The consequences of traversing this path is that it is laborious but affords citizens the opportunity to have a say in how to elect their leaders -a right that has been taken away from citizens since the inception of the current decentralization system and deepen local level democracy and grassroots participation in governance,” she said.

She also rebuked government for what she described as the lack of transparency in the change of date for the election of MMDCEs and failure to communicate the development to citizens.

According to her, “The government should have communicated to Ghanaians on the new approach to fulfilling its manifesto promise of electing MMDCEs and issue a clear roadmap to demonstrate its commitment to delivering on that promise since the process is laborious and may involve a lot of legal, policy and constitutional changes in our democratic system.”

Mrs. Tetteh explained that “To decide on whether to elect local leaders such as MMDCEs on partisan or non-partisan basis is quite laborious which may require more time than anticipated. It is clear that from the process of amending the constitution, should we go the partisan way, there is no way MMDCEs could have been elected within 2 years of the NPP coming into office.”

Recently, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, indicated that the election of Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) would come off in 2021, contrary to the 2019 that was proposed by President Akufo-Addo.

The change of date has triggered a debate among concerned Ghanaians with those against the new date saying “the change in date was to create an opportunity to reward party loyalists”.

The Director of European Studies at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, also raised his scepticism over the commitment of politicians to elect MMDCEs as those positions were usually reserved to reward supporters of the party in power.