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PPP throws weight behind election of MMDCEs

Source Graphic Online

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has thrown its weight behind the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) with a call on Ghanaians to participate fully in the upcoming referendum in order to achieve an overall success.

It, however, called for a number of amendments to the 1992 Constitution to enable Ghanaians to reap the full benefits of participatory democracy and also take active part in the development of their communities.

At a press conference in Accra Monday, the First Vice Chairman of the PPP, Mr William Doworkpor, said the proposed amendments to all related legislation and policies must be addressed concurrently.

“We need to ensure that we do not only amend Article 55 (3) to have the election of MMDCEs on partisan basis, which standing on its own, is too limiting, but the whole gamut of related Acts and policies set to be affected as a consequence of the amendment,” he said.

Background

Ghana will on December 17, this year, head to the polls to vote on a referendum to amend Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to allow for the election of MMDCEs.

On the same day of the referendum, there will be the election of members of the district assemblies and unit committees.

Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched provision, states that “Subject to the provisions of this Article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character; and sponsor candidates for election to any public office other than the district assemblies or lower local government units”.

Article 243 (1) of the 1992 constitution provides that “There shall be a District Chief Executive for every district who shall be appointed 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”.

PPP on amendments

Mr Doworkpor said the party believed that the “proposed amendments to all related legislation and policies must be put on the table now, in a comprehensive way, to ensure that we know exactly what outcome to expect of the whole process after we have voted YES”.

For example, he said Article 243 (d) which allowed the government to appoint one-third of the assembly members must be amended to allow for the election of all members of the district assembly.

“We cannot have a partisan election of MMDCEs and the assemblymen and women elected by universal adult suffrage and allow any President to appoint not more than 30 per cent of all the members of the district assembly,” Mr Doworkpor said.

The party further explained that the power of the President to appoint 30 per cent of the assembly members of the old order was undemocratic, adding that it would, therefore, be a “constitutional and democratic sacrilege to allow any President to have opportunity to dilute the members of an elected assembly”.

“We are on the side of the people and the choices of the people must remain supreme. Article 242 (d) must be amended as well,” Mr Doworkpor said.

DACF concerns

He also proposed an upward review of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) from the current five per cent of the national revenue to 10 per cent with a formula approved by Parliament, guided by strict anti-corruption sanction.

“This is one of the surest ways to ensure that the people have control of the development agenda of their local areas based on their established priorities. Electing MMDCEs without giving them the needed funds to operate with will create disaffection at the local level and undermine the democratic agenda,” he stated.

Mr Doworkpor further said the appointment of the administrator of the DACF should not be partisan and recommended a selection process to be conducted by the Public Service Commission through public advertisement.

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