The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) is calling on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to establish a committee of eminent Ghanaians to lead efforts towards partisan involvement in local governance elections.
The President has reiterated his commitment to ensure that MMDCEs are elected along partisan lines.
IDEG, which is in support of the move by the President, however believes it will fail if not approached with tact.
In an interview with Citi News, Executive Director of the IDEG, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, indicated that it is only an independent committee that can build the needed consensus on the matter.
“I think the President should appoint eminent Ghanaians to handle this. We have diplomats and people who have gone to other countries to fix problems. Let’s not make this look as if any body handling this is inclined towards election 2024 so they are going to be bias. There is so much mistrust and suspicion.”
“The President has to lay the process. I am optimistic that we see this constitution amended for the first time in four years and a new system established, if he is able to reach political consensus.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said he has not given up on his quest to amend Article 55 (3) of the 1992 constitution to pave way for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) on partisan basis.
He maintains that a repeal of the law that prohibits political parties from sponsoring candidates for elections at the local level will deepen decentralization and democracy in the country.
In 2019, the Akufo-Addo administration initiated moves to democratize the selection of leaders at the local government level with a proposal for the amendment of Article 243 (1) and a further amendment to Article 55 (3) of the Constitution, to enable political parties to participate in local level elections.
But the plan hit a dead end following a lack of bipartisan backing for the referendum to amend Article 55 (3), pushing the President to withdraw these reforms.
Although the 1992 Constitution, in Article 55 (3), gives the mandate for the organisation of political party elections, it excluded the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives.
Article 55(3) 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 elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units”.
Currently, the President nominates all MMDCEs for confirmation by their assemblies.
But he argued that the turnout of national elections in the fourth republic has been 72 percent; one of the highest in the world with that of non-partisan local government elections always hovering around 30 percent.