Elected MMDCEs will ‘sabotage’ governments – Prof Ahwoi

prof-kwamena-ahwoi-483x330A local government analyst, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, has downplayed calls for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCE) to be elected saying it will further deepen disunity at the grassroots.

Speaking at the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) forum on assessing the effectiveness of the district assembly concept, the former local government and rural development minister believes electing the MMDCEs will be detrimental to the development of the country.“Since those DCEs would like to unseat the government for their party to come to power, it will be difficult for any partisan government to implement it’s programs through hostile DCEs,” Prof Ahwoi warned.

Currently, the president nominates a candidate who would have to secure the approval of two thirds of assembly members to be confirmed.

There is however a huge clamor from various quarters for these MMDCEs to be elected to make them more responsive to the local people.

Meanwhile, a report released by NCCE has revealed that over 69 percent of Ghanaians want MMDCEs elected.

The report, “Assessing the Effectiveness of District Assemblies in Ghana’s Democracy,” also found that over 60 percent of the respondents think the current district assembly system is partisan,” a situation they believe is contrary to the provisions of the constitution.

The survey which was carried out in September 2014 covered 72 districts with 2,910 respondents.

Other  submissions  called  for  the  election  of  MMDCEs  by  universal  adult  suffrage.

These were captured in the final report of the Constitutional Review Commission which said:

a.  Article  243(1)  of  the  1992  Constitution  of  the  Republic  of  Ghana. “It  is  important  that  the  districts,  which  are  responsible  for  the  development  of  all  our communities,  be  headed  by  persons  who  are  legitimate  and  trusted  by  the  people  in those  communities.  This  can  only  be  achieved  if  the  Constitution  allows  the  popular election of  MMDCEs.

b.  An elected MMDCE will  be  more  responsive  and  accountable  to the  people.

c.  Popular  election  of  MMDCEs  would  make  for  the  total  democratization  of  the  local government system.

d.  The  functions  of  an  MMDCE  as  enshrined  in  the  Constitution  make  the  position critical  to  local  development.  This  means  that  the  selection  of  a  person  to  fill  such  a position  should  not  be  left  to  an  electoral  college.  Although  unelected  by  universal adult  suffrage,  the  MMDCE  performs  functions,  such  as  presiding  at  meetings  of  the Executive  Committee  of  the  MMDA,  managing  the  day-to-day  performance  of  the executive  and  administrative  functions  of  the  MMDA,  and  acting  as  the  chief representative  of  the  central  government  in  the  district. Additionally,  the  MMDCE  is the  Chairman  of  the  District  Security  Committee,  which  makes  him  responsible  to  the National  Security  Coordinator.  Only  an  elected  official  should  perform  all  of  these functions.

e.  Elections  will  create  the  platform  for  competent  persons  to  stand  for  elections  as MMDCE.

f. An  elected  MMDCE  would  have  the  confidence  and  security  of  tenure  necessary  to insist  on  long-term  local  development  when  this  is  sought  to  be  sacrificed  by  the centre  for  short-term and  parochial  interests.

g.  Popular  elections  of  MMDCEs  would  reduce  the  incidents  of  having  very  unpopular candidates  selected  as  MMDCEs  by  the  assemblies  and  remove,  or  at  least,  minimise the alleged corruption that accompanies the approval of nominees by assemblies.

source: citifmonline.com