Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development Hajia Alima Mahama says government would seek a constitutional amendment to get Metropolitan, Municipal, District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) elected into office.
She said this is necessary as the constitutional provision in Article 248 (1) and (2) are both non-entrenched clauses.
Article 248 (1) (2) read:
“(1) A candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit shall present himself to the electorate as an individual, and shall not use any symbol associated with any political party.
(2) A political party shall not endorse, sponsor, offer a platform to or in anyway campaign for or against a candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit.”
The President on a campaign platform in Cape Coast in the Central Region said, “In 2018, we are going to move to fully elected District Assembly representations including the choice of the District chief Executive (DCE). It is going to be done by the people of the districts and no longer by the nomination of the President.”
“But between now and then, all appointments to the District Assemblies is going to be by close consultation between my government and you the traditional authorities,” he added.
In furtherance to the President’s promise Hajia Alima said, “we would come parliament to amend them just like we would come to amend Article 243 (1).”
Article 243 (1) reads:
“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.”
She said Article 243, which is also non-entrenched, requires a 2/3 majority to vote to get it amended which she believes would not be hard to get as there are people on the minority side of parliament who would vote for DCEs to get elected.
According to the former Gambaga/Nalerigu Member of Parliament (MP), a further look at the entrenched clause of Article 55 (3) which deals with the people’s representation means it would require a referendum to amend.
“Therefore, we would initiate the process towards amending it…as it stands people would run on an individual basis as DCE’s while we discuss with Ghanaians if they want it to partisan by voting for it,” she said.
When asked by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu about timelines to see this through, she said once she is given the nod by parliament, she would initiate the process to see the promise come to fruition.
In a related development, she promised to deal with the issue of some MP’s and DCEs who control power and financial resources but are mostly not on good terms.
A member of the Appointment Committee said it is becoming problematic which stifle development for the district when the MCEs party is government and MP is in the opposition.
It is also problematic when they are both in the same party with the MCE targeting the MP’s seat and would do anything to derail development efforts by the MP.
Hajia Mahama promised to deal with the matter dispassionately as any kind of conflict between the two would affect development at the local level and she would want to find out what is the issue between the two is if such a situation occurs under her watch.
“If it has to do with holding onto the Common Fund, I don’t think the DCE has any legal right to do that. He/She should release the MP’s share of the Common Fund that has been duly transferred to the District office.”