Former President John Mahama has described government’s decision to withdraw the bill on the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) as unfortunate.
He said it has "unfairly robbed Ghanaians of the opportunity to elect their own MMDCEs”.
He said such an election would have improved accountability in governance.
Speaking at a meeting with the Christian Council of Ghana at their secretariat in Accra, John Mahama, who is also the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) expressed disappointment at the decision by President Akufo-Addo to cancel the planned election although it was part of the NPP’s 2016 election manifesto.
“I did not think there was the need for him to withdraw the bill on the election of MMDCEs because Ghanaians want their MMDCEs to be elected because they believe they should be accountable to them… things happen at the local level and when the people accost their MMDCE, he says you didn't appoint me, the President appointed me.”
According John Mahama, parliament could have worked out some criteria to ensure that the non-partisan potential candidates who present themselves to be elected met certain minimum standards.
President Akufo-Addo in a televised address called for the withdrawal of the two Bills after he directed the cancellation of the December 17 referendum to amend Article 55(3) which was to allow political parties to file candidates for district-level elections.
“It is with deep regret that I have given instructions to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development…to abort the process and see to the withdrawal of the Bills for the amendment of the Constitution both in respect of Article 243(1) and Article 55(3),” the President said.
The Bill was accordingly withdrawn following the approval of Parliament.
The appointment of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) is done 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.
The scheduled electoral process was to change that system but it was hit with a major blow when the opposition, National Democratic Congress (NDC) which John Mahama belongs to, as well as other stakeholders started advocating for a 'NO' vote in the referendum.
The party argued that it was only worried that an amendment to Article 55 (3) will open district assemblies and unit committees to “the needless NDC-NPP polarisation.”