The government is now awaiting parliamentary approval of a bill to amend Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to pave the way for the participation of political parties in the district level elections.

The bill, which has been approved by the Cabinet and published in the Gazette, matured on May 24, and was laid in Parliament for the first reading on May 28, 2019, the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, said.

Law outdated

She said the ministry was also working to ensure that the law that allowed the President to appoint district chief executives (DCEs) was outdated.

She explained that the Amendment Bill of Article 243 (1) on appointment of MMDCEs by the President had been approved by Cabinet, gazetted, laid in Parliament and referred to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament.

Announcing the road map on the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) at the meet-the-press series in Accra last Wednesday, Hajia Mahama reiterated that the efforts at electing the DCEs were aimed at deepening the democratic process of the country.

National Campaign Strategy

The minister said a National Campaign Strategy had been developed to facilitate a successful national referendum that would be conducted alongside the district level elections in December 2019, urging all stakeholders, especially the media, to support the campaign efforts in making the process successful.

Hajia Alima said as part of the process, the sector ministry had conducted series of stakeholder sensitisation and consultations in all regions, having met groups including the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Electoral Commission (EC).

Consensus

Also, the National House of Chiefs, the political parties, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Federation of Muslim Councils in Ghana and the Professional and Civil Society groups have all been engaged to ensure a consensus.

“The road map on the election of MMDCEs has been designed to be implemented in four phases: Pre-Referendum Phase, Referendum Phase, Post Referendum Phase, Change Management and Capacity Building Phase”, she indicated.

Ghana has implemented the current decentralisation and local government system since 1988.

Though significant progress has been made, experts say there are a few grey areas that require improvement for participatory governance and local democracy to be deepened.

One of such grey areas has been the need to popularly elect MMDCEs on a partisan basis to be in tandem with the mode of electing national level leaders. — GNA



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