A local governance expert, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, has called for a review of the current Local Governance Act, 2016 (Act 936) to ensure that there is transparency in the process of appointing Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
According to him, the current process which commenced with executives of the political party in power at the district level forwarding nominations to the Presidency had made Ghana’s democracy deficient.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, he suggested that the government should resume the discussions on the suspended bi-partisan process to elect MMDCEs.
“When the new Local Governance Act was being passed, there was an annex to the bill to come up with the criteria, the qualification and the process for appointing MMDCEs to ensure that it is very transparent so that we will be able to get the best,” Dr. Osae said.
“But that annex was taken out before the bill was passed into law, so I will advise that we should review the current Local Governance Act to make provision for the criteria, the qualification, and the documented processes for appointing MMDCEs, especially when they are being paid with the taxpayers’ money,” he stated.
Dr. Osae said MMDCEs, who were the chief representatives of the central government, must be made to go through the same process of interviews and public office appointments by the Public Services Commission.
Dr. Osae said the current process which was being controlled by the political party in power had become the source of agitation and resulted in the delay in the appointment of MMDCEs.
“The process as we have been told has always been that the regional level (of the political party in power) will do interviews, people will be shortlisted, the national committee will be set up and the national committee will make a recommendation for the President to accept.
“This is an undocumented process which will have to be documented and be made transparent for people to understand it. In that case, it will reduce the normal agitations that greet such appointments and it will also fast-track the process of confirming MMDCEs when they are nominated by the President in future,” he stated.
Dr. Osae said the ultimate solution was to have MMDCEs popularly elected, stressing that, “It is also a way of consolidating our democracy because the President is elected by the people, MPs are elected by the people. How come the MMDCEs who are to bring development to the people are not being allowed to be elected by the people?”
According to him, the current system was a deficiency in the country’s democratic dispensation, and “I think until and unless we elect our chief executives, Ghana’s democracy is deficient”.
Chapter 20 of the 1992 Constitution on decentralization and local government, Article 243(1), says “there shall be a district chief executive for every district who shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting”.