Voting for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives along party lines “would curb winner takes all” in Ghana’s politics, the Local Government Minister has said.
Alima Mahama explained it would also help some of the smaller parties to partake in the administration of the state, albeit at the local government level.
“It is good for our country’s democracy and also good for the growth of the country,” She told JoyNews’ PM Express programme on Wednesday.
The Minister was speaking ahead of a referendum in December that seeks to allow political parties partake in local government elections.
Already, the Executive is ready with a bill that seeks to change the position of MMDCEs from an appointed one [by the President] to an elected one.
Mrs. Mahama says he hopes the bill would be passed by Parliament before the December referendum.
The bill needs the support of 2/3 MPs to pass which means the government will need the support of opposition MPs.
The Minister, however, lamented that she has sensed some feet dragging from NDC MPs now that the process near completion.
She said the understanding from both parties in the House was to change the law to allow the election of MMDCEs on party lines and she was, therefore, surprised at the pussyfooting from the opposition now that one part of that is about to be completed.
If MPs pass the law however, the referendum would also need to pass before the MMDCE candidates can stand on the ticket of political parties which is currently prohibited under Article 55/3 of the Constitution.
It states that political parties are allowed to take part in any public election except “to district assemblies or lower local government unit.”
Some citizens have, however, hit the Jubilee House with a petition for the process to elect MMDCEs on party lines to be halted.
According to the petitioners, allowing political parties to partake in local government would further polarise the country.
“We believe that the political factionalism at the grassroots will destroy friendships and families, considering our fragile young democracy,” they wrote.
The petitioners also want Akufo-Addo to be cautious about allowing partisan MMDCE elections since Assembly elections are held in the Presidential mid-term.
This, they say could lead to the President losing public confidence if most of the ruling party’s candidates lose.