A governance analyst, Frederic Agyarko Oduro, has urged Ghanaians to be more open-minded to the idea of partisan elections of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
After the controversy in the Juaben municipality, where its MCE nominee, Alex Sarfo Kantanka, was arrested for bribing assembly members, Mr. Oduro said such incidents should be treated in isolation.
“This is a classic case of bribery which is criminal, and I am very happy that for the first time we found the police arresting somebody with some level of political clout,” Mr. Oduro said.
“I find it strange that even when you talk about partisanship at the local level, we make it look like a monster. But then, what is really wrong with partisanship? I believe partisanship, as it pertains, is a system that can help us develop ideas.”
Mr. Oduro, who serves as the dean of the Local Government Institute, said one of the benefits of partisanship at the local level was training better leaders.
He said the party system would be a better avenue for nurturing politicians who rise through the district level to even the Presidency.
“Like in Turkey, we have Erdoğan. Even in the UK, we have Boris Johnson. They were mayors in their cities. They have risen to the highest office of their respective countries,” Mr. Oduro said as an example.
Failed amendment attempt
Currently, the President nominates all MMDCEs for confirmation by their assemblies.
In September 2019, President Akufo-Addo started processes to amend Article 243 of the Constitution, which gives the President the power to appoint all MMDCEs.
A referendum was also lined up to seek the support of citizens to amend Article 55 of the Constitution, which bans political parties from participating in local level elections and makes such elections partisan.
However, in December 2019, the referendum was suspended due to a perceived lack of a national consensus.
The Attorney General then withdrew the Constitution Amendment Bills 2018 to amend Articles 55 and 243 from Parliament.