Group commends gov't for amending Local Government Law
Kandifo Institute, a governance, economic and leadership think tank, has commended the government for amending the Local Government Law.
The amendment paves the way for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) across the country.
“Having followed the processes to ensure this promise is fulfilled, the Kandifo Institute is impressed with the work done so far and commends the government for its commitment in ensuring the law is amended to pave the way for the election of the MMDCEs,” said a statement signed by Executive Director of Kandifo Institue, Palgrave Boakye-Danquah.
Parliament has amended Article 243(1) of the Local Government Law to take away the President’s power to appoint MMDCEs and has handed same to the electorates to decide who leads them at the local level.
But there have been suggestions by some commentators in the media and local governance experts on the need for Parliament to equally amend Article 243(3) b which gives power to the President to remove from office any MMDCE.
They argue that the whole purpose of amending the law will be defeated if this article is not amended to deny the President the power to remove from office any MMDCE.
Commenting on this view in the statement, Kandifo Institute said the President must be allowed to remove any MMDCE “whose action or inaction is found to have contravened the constitution” from office. The Institute says this is consistent with the executive system of government Ghana is practising.
Read Kandifo Institute’s full statement on the amendment of the Local Government Law below.
KANDIFO INSTITUTE REACTIONS ON THE AMENDED LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAW
The Kandifo Institute has over the years observed the steady progress made to ensure Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, (MMDCEs), are elected across the country by the electorates. Some civil society groups and political parties in the past have argued the need to have these MMDCEs elected. Notable amongst them was the New Patriotic Party, NPP, whose candidate and now President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised to ensure electorates are able to vote for their own chief executives to end the 32 year decentralisation and local government system being practised.
Having followed the processes to ensure this promise is fulfilled, the Kandifo Institute is impressed with the work done so far and commends the government for its commitment in ensuring the law is amended to pave the way for the election of the MMDCEs.
Article 243(1) Amended
Parliament has amended Article 243(1) after it was approved by cabinet and subsequently laid in the legislature by the minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama. This now takes the appointment power away from the President and hands it to the electorates for them to decide who leads them at the local level.
Argument over Article 243(3) b
There have been suggestions by some commentators in the media and some local governance experts on the need for parliament to equally amend Article 243(3) b which gives power to the president to remove from office any MMDCE. They argue that the whole purpose will be defeated if this article is not amended to deny the President the power to remove from office any MMDCE.
The Institute, however, holds a contrary view. It is our opinion that the President is allowed to remove from office any MMDCE whose action or inaction is found to have contravened the constitution, taking into cognizance the fact that Ghana is practicing an executive system of government.
ï‚§ Democracy will be deepened at the local level following the election of the MMDCEs. It is always going to help when people are given the opportunity to make their own choices since they will not feel the government is imposing the chief executives on them. It will make them feel their rights are being respected and will go a long way to eradicate the trend of vandalism, chaos and confusion that greet the nominations made by the President in recent times.
ï‚§ Leadership accountability will be enhanced. One of the key gains the election of the MMDCEs brings to the local people is accountability. Over the years, some locals have levelled some allegations against their MMDCEs. The allegations range from corruption, disrespect, non-performance, just to mention a few. Often times, some of these allegations are found to be true which sometimes lead to the sacking of such
MMDCEs. It is no secret that these things happen because the MMDCEs do not think they are accountable to the people but rather the President who appoints them so amending the law will give power to the electorates who will now decide who leads them.
ï‚§ There will be room for creativity and good initiatives. The Institute is excited about the prospect that elected MMDCEs will have the free hands to come out with good initiatives that will be able to solve peculiar problems faced by the local folks. They will not have to turn attention to the central government who is overburdened with other relevant issues.
We are committed to ensuring the processes leading to the election of the MMDCEs are successful. As an Institute that prides itself in undertaking a critical research in the areas of governance, leadership and economic policy to initiate a development discourse, the Kandifo Institute is ready to work with the government and other stakeholders in this regard.
Having pledged our support to this process, we call on other stakeholders like the National House of Chiefs, the National Commission for Civic Education, Political Parties, Christian Council, Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the Federation of Muslim Councils in Ghana, various labour unions, Civil Societies, etc. to support the process to ensure success is achieved.
Meanwhile, we urge all to turn out in their numbers to vote in the December 17 referendum across the country and also vote ‘YES’ to the referendum questions.
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