After 31 years (1988-2019) of implementing Ghana’s current Local Government system ,a review has exposed two main government gaps :
•The need to convert all appointment positions to elective on universal adult suffrage basis to deepen local democracy
•The absence of multi-partisan elections at the local level.
To resolve the identified gaps ,two mechanisms were identified:
•Elect all members of the Assembly (MPs, MMDCEs and Assembly) as well as members of the lower local government units (Units Committee Members)
•Allow for multi- partisan participation in the election of the members of the District Assemblies and local government units.
In order to remove the constitutional impediment, a national roadmap was developed which identified two initial constitutional amendments to be made to the 1992 constitution.
• Amend Article 243(1) which is a non -entrenched provision to make the position of MMDCEs elective
•Amend Article 55(3) which is an entrenched provision to allow for the political parties to participate in the election of members of the District Assemblies and Unit Committees.
In view of this a YES vote at the 17th December referendum means the following:
- Political parties are now free to participate in all public elections including the election of MMDCEs
2.Will resolve the chaotic situation that arises when MMDCEs are nominated by the President and required the approval of 2/3rds members of the District Assembly present and voting.
3.Will stop political parties from hiding behind candidates in the local level elections.
4.Stop the influencing of Assembly members with all kids of gifts to approve MMDCEs if appointed by the President.
5.Compel political parties by prioritising local development as well since they will be compelled to start developing district assembly manifestoes.
6.To hold local political leaders (MMDCEs Assembly members and Unit Committee members) and their parties accountable and vote for independent thought and actions at the Local Government.
7.To break the winner takes all syndrome in Ghanaian politics and neutralize the effect of the NPP- NDC duopoly in Ghanaian politics.
8. To change the one party dominated local government status to a multi party system by preventing one political party from appointing 1/3 members of the Assembly and MMDCEs to the detriment of all other political parties .
9.To consolidate Ghana’s democracy and improve our Democratic credentials by moving the good practices at the national level which has earned us a name to the local level.
10. To prevent smaller political parties from dying by creating spaces for them to contest and win some seats at local government levels as MMDCE , Assembly members and Unit Committee members.
Story By: Akua Nyarko Abronoma