Mr Stephen Ashitey Adjei, Executive Member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Tema East Constituency, has called on chiefs to take a stance against government’s move to change the appointment process for MMDCEs into an electoral one.
“From our experience with national level election, I do not think that it will be lost on anybody that introducing elections, with all its acrimony, as the new means to elect our local chief executives simply means spreading the acrimonious cancer to the local level as well.
“If we change from having the President appoint the MMDCEs to the situation, where they are elected, our chiefs will be the first to suffer the consequence,” Moshake said.
Mr Ashitey Adjei, who is popularly known as Moshake was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the forthcoming referendum on the election of MMDCEs. He said the alternative arrangement was a trap that would introduce unnecessary cumbersomeness in governance at the local level.
He explained that, “in the current dispensation, where MMDCEs are appointed by the President, our chiefs enjoy some authority and respect from these MMDCEs because the MMDCEs know that chiefs are naturally positioned to advise the President about them and therefore, the acceptance of the chief is crucial to his or her stay in office. But where the MMDCEs are elected, they will feel a sense of entitlement to the position and unaccountable to the chiefs and this is dangerous.”
According to him, election of MMDCEs could also be dangerous for Presidents and their policy agenda.
“Imagine a situation, where the President is from NPP and an elected MMDCE is from the NDC, It would be chaos at any particular assembly as the local chief executive from an opposing political tradition could simply sabotage the President and frustrate his agenda there for political reasons,” Moshake said.
He said election of MMDCEs also meant that party people who found themselves in the stronghold of their opponents, had little chance of being rewarded with positions like district or Municipal or Metropolitan Chief Executive, for their sacrifices for the party. He said, subjecting the local chief executive position to elections would also create room for people with ill gotten wealth to hijack governance at the local level.
Potential ‘moneycracy’ in the election of MMDCEs will make our chiefs lose any influence they have on MMDCEs,” he warned.
His take comes as the government is preparing to subject the matter to a referendum. The referendum will simply ask participants whether MMDCEs should be voted into office or appointed.
Mr Ashitey Adjei warned that if the people vote ‘yes’ in the referendum, the election of MMDCEs would be the source of many challenges.
He also pointed out that the government’s decision to tie the referendum with the 2019 local Assemblies election was self-defeating as local Assembly elections usually did not attract as much voter interest as the national elections.
“Our local Assembly election has usually attracted very low turnout; in the region of 25 percent of the voter population. But the Constitution requires that with the referendum, at least a turnout of some 80 percent is pre-condition, and so off the ground, the process is fraught with potential flaws,” he added.
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