The Ranking Member of the Local Government Committee of Parliament, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye, says the time is right for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) considering the high number of persons seeking to vie for those positions.
According to him, conducting an election is the surest way of getting competent individuals to serve in those roles.
Nii Lante Vanderpuye’s comment follows the fact that more than 1,300 persons have expressed interest in being MMDCEs in 260 local assemblies.
He noted that while the election of MMDCEs is important, he does not agree with plans to make the election partisan.
“I totally support the idea for the election of MMDCEs, just that I am against the politicization of that position. I believe that we should open up for qualified Ghanaians irrespective of political affiliation. If we want to get competent people to be able to man the MMDAs, we should open up so that people apply, and when they apply the right person is selected.”
In 2019, a national referendum was scheduled to take place to amend Article 55 (3) of the Constitution, which currently bars political parties from participating in district-level elections.
The referendum was eventually canceled because there was no bipartisan consensus.
No significant commitment has since been made to ensure the election of MMDCEs, even though it was a major campaign promise of the New Patriotic Party prior to the 2016 election.
MMDCEs are currently appointed by the President, however, amending Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution would enable the public to vote for these local government officials.
In January 2021, the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG), urged Parliament to restart the conversation on the election of MMDCEs, indicating that Ghana has fallen behind some of its peers in Africa in that regard.