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Ghanaians to go for another referendum in December

Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDG), Dr Kwasi Jonas has reiterated the need for Ghanaians to embrace the election of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDECs) in Ghana like they did in the creation of the new regions.

He urged citizens to come out massively on 10th December referendum day and vote Yes for the amendment of Article 55(3) of Ghana’s constitution to allow political parties to participate actively in local government elections.

When citizens vote for the amendment of 55(3), the parliament of Ghana would also have to amend Article 243 ( 1) which would stop the president from appointing MMDCEs.
The two reforms the researcher said, if successful would enhance Ghana’s democratic governance system, especially at the local level.

According to Dr. Jonas, the current district assemblies were not able to meet the demands of the people and also have accountability problems even though Ghana has practiced decentralization for over 31 years now.
He cited the assembly’s inability to address the floods and sanitation situations across the country and expressed the hope that, the elected MMDCEs will be more concern about pleasing the people then the appointing authority.

He observed that most young MMDCEs deliberately undermine their MPs because they want to become MPs when their two terms elapse. This, he said is affecting local level development.

Presenting a paper on the theme: “The Review of Article 55: A panacea or a Burden on the winner takes all practice” at NORSAAC Rallying Multi-stakeholders workshop in Tamale, Dr Jonas said, even though after the referendum, more constitutional amendments would have to be made, the election of MMDCES will deepen Ghana’s development and also bring a lot of benefit to the decentralization process.

Dr Jonas explained that electing MMDCEs will fast track development and the citizens will have their fair share of the national cake irrespective of who is their DCE or MCE.
The senior research fellow wants Ghana to emulate countries such as Britain, Sierra Leone, Uganda and South Africa where all political parties have access to positions after every election.

He also allayed fears that some rural districts that largely depend on funds from central government will be deprived. He said it cannot affect them because there will a district development fund backed by law and MMDCEs who attempt to deprive a district will pay dearly for it during general elections.

He cited Kenya where every province has their share devoid which political party is in power. The elected DCEs he added can sue the president for delaying to release the common fund.

Executive Director of NORASAC, Mr. Alhassan Mohammed Awal made it clear that his outfit and IDEG are fully in support of the election of MMDCEs. He said unlike the new regions referendum where they were accused of campaigning against it when they were rather encouraging citizens to know why there should be new regions, they are in support of the MMDCEs referendum. He encouraged citizens to show keen interest on who is their local authority.

NORSAAC and its consortium members implementers implemented a “ the Referendum We want “ project funded by STAR-Ghana foundation through UKAID, EU and DANIDA.

The project since June, 2018 have been working towards an “enhanced local governance in Ghana through an inclusive and citizen-led referendum” with particular focus on capacity for Civil Society Organizatio.

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