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01.08.2005 General News

Referendum should decide whether DCEs should be elected


Koforidua, Aug 01, GNA - Mr Kwesi Jonah, the acting Head of the Governance Centre of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), says the time has come for the nation to decide by referendum whether district chief executives should be elected along party lines. He said while studies conducted on the debate consistently show public disapproval of the move, it was, nonetheless, prudent conducting a referendum on the issue to put to rest the disquiet by those who favour the move.

Mr Jonah was speaking at a one-day symposium organized by the IEA in collaboration with all the eight registered political parties at Koforidua on Saturday.

Mr Jonah said the issue of introducing active politicking into the workings of the district assemblies must not remain 'a no go area' since only the ruling party seems to be benefiting from the present arrangements.

He said there is credible evidence to show that opposition parties could control up to nearly 48 per cent of the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies if the current local government structure was reviewed.

Mr Yaw Barimah, the Eastern Regional Minister, said there was already some semblance of party politicking at the district assemblies and those political parties that failed ''to grasp this reality do so at their own peril.''

He said the government was willing to collaborate with political parties to evolve reforms that could help Ghana harness its resources for the betterment of the people.

Mr Quaye Sowah, the Eastern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), reiterated the need for political parties to live in harmony devoid of political bickering that divides the society along party lines.