The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Hajia Alima Mahama has asked people of the three regions of the North to change the narratives that the North was used as labour banks during the colonial days hence it underdevelopment.
To this end, she called on the people to elect MMDCEs and hold them accountable to fast track development of the area as part of the efforts of doing away with that notion.
Hajia Alima Mahama was speaking at the sensitization workshop on the election of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) at Wa in the Upper West Region.
Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo and Mark Smith report that it was emphasized that the election of political leaders at local government level is considered as international best practice adopted by many countries to deepen democracy at the local level.
Hajia Alima Mahama indicated that today, the need for a change in the mode of appointing MMDCEs has been identified as a governance gap in the country’s local governance system.
She pointed out that since the introduction of 1992 Constitution there has been incessant calls for a change in the manner of appointing MMDCEs which many Ghanaians consider as undemocratic.
The local government minister said in order to meet what she termed “this democratic deficit, the NPP then in opposition, in its 2016 manifesto promised to elect MMDCEs if elected into office.
Hajia Alima Mahama recalled that President Akufo Addo during the orientation of MMDCEs in July 2017 told them they will the last to be appointed through nomination and approval by their respective Assemblies.
To further show the commitment of government to elect MMDCEs on partisan basis, the President in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament reaffirmed the party’s stand.
Hajia Alima Mahama touched on the objective of the consultations which are a prelude to the referendum on electing MMDCEs in September 2019.
She said “this national consultation and sensitization workshop is therefore to provide information as well as sensitise stakeholders to the functions and roles of MMDCEs, the importance of having MMDCEs popularly elected on partisan basis and what is expected of all stakeholders in the upcoming referendum.”
Hajia Alima Mahama also argued that the election of MMDCEs will ensure transparency and accountability.
The Upper West Regional Minister Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan entreated traditional leaders to impress it on their people on the need to come out participate in the referendum on the election of the MMDCEs.
A Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Dr. Eric Oduro Osae who made a presentation on “Road Map on the Election of MMDCEs” charged the media to up their game in educating the citizenry on the need to come and vote massively in September 2019.
The Associate Director Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA) Gabriel Dari stated that his organization supports the election of MMDCEs on partisan basis and emphasized that the roles of elected MMDCEs and Regional Ministers should be clearly spelt out.
Some participants at the workshop however cautioned that the country needs to tread cautiously in the elections of MMDCEs because it will not be the solution to the problems at the local level.
Report by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo and Mark Smith