The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), has stepped its sensitization of the citizenry on the proposed reforms of Ghana’s local government system to allow for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to be elected.
Hajia Alima Mahama, the Minister, said the objective was to ensure high turnout in the referendum on the proposal scheduled for September, 2019.
“The nation needs at least about 40 per cent of ‘Yes’ votes to endorse the reforms,” she hinted, saying this would enhance the processes of making the local government system more partisan in tune with contemporary practices.
Hajia Mahama, who was addressing a day’s sensitization and awareness-raising workshop on the election of MMDECs in Kumasi, indicated that fine-tuning the country’s local governance was necessary for an effective participatory democracy.
The workshop was held on the theme “Electing MMDCEs for Improved Local Democracy and Good Governance”.
Participants included MMDCEs, traditional authorities, political activists and the media.
Hajia Mahama said the nation, under the Fourth Republican Constitution, has put in place one of the best local governance structures on the African continent.
However, some aspects ought to be critically reviewed to address concerns of stakeholders, including the election of MMDCEs.
This, she said, was critical as efforts were made to whip up activism on the part of political parties and the people in general, in order to participate fully in local governance issues in their respective communities.
The Minister said one key advantage of making local government more partisan as compared to the current system, where the President nominates MMDCEs to be elected by the assemblies, was that it “will eliminate the winner-takes-all syndrome”.
“The Ministry is keen on bringing about the needed change in order to make MMDCEs more accountable to the people,” she noted, adding that all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies were expected to demonstrate utmost transparency in their activities.
Hajia Mahama said an implementation committee had been put in place to ensure that the roadmap towards the referendum on the proposal was executed as scheduled.
The committee, amongst others, is currently studying the constitutional, legal and policy aspects of the reforms and also meet stakeholders to brainstorm on how best they could be shaped up for a vibrant local governance.
Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, advised the MMDCEs to work assiduously to meet the expectations of the people in relation to the implementation of development policies and programmes.