Story: Richmond KEELSON
The much anticipated list of nominee Municipal Metropolitan & District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) was finally released by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Dan Kwaku Botwe on behalf of the President this week.
The approval of the list for various Districts, is however encountering outright rejection and facing total commotion by some local settlers or indigenes, mainly, NPP supporters in various districts or localities throughout the country.
Meanwhile, very notably, there are places where there were new faces in the hot seats including the Accra Metro, Kumasi Metro and Tamale Metro.
In Accra, the President nominated former deputy minister and former MP, Elizabeth Kwatsoo Sackey, to replace Mohammed Adjei Sowah.
The rumoured penciling of Elizabeth Sackey instead of the retention of Mohammed Sowah for the AMA position, triggered pockets of violence in Jamestown in the Odododiodio Constituency in Accra, leading to the arrest of four people that the police suspect were ringleaders of the illegal action.
In the Kumasi Metro (KMA), NPP Ashanti Regional Secretary, Samuel Pyne aka Sam Pyne, was selected to replace the incumbent Osei Asibbey Antwi who is said to have stepped aside when the nomination processes were ongoing.
In this case, our Ashanti regional reporter, Kwadwo Owusu Aduiomi reports that the assembly members have indicated that they will reject the President’s nominee if the government fails to pay Ghc50 million the Metropolitan Assembly owes them.
In Tamale, the incumbent Iddrisu Musah, popularly called Superior, was changed for Sule Salifu who will be coming as the new Tamale Metro boss.
Other places facing protests following the announcement are; Chereponi, Nsawam Adoagyiri, Tema East, Asokore Mampong, and Ejura
By the Local Government act, the nominee MMDCEs need two-third approval by District Assembly members before they can assume the position. The concerns expressed by the agitators, border on the perceived incompetence of some of the nominees, at the expense of others they consider to be more capable for the position.
Others are questioning the President’s refusal to retain some of the MMDCEs, who in the estimation of agitating lots, did a marvelous job during their first term tenure as MMDCEs.
Aside, bringing to the attention of the President, the questionable status of some of his nominee MMDCEs, Today discovered that the agitators would want the approval body—the District Assemblies, to consider seriously their concerns, before casting their ballot.
History of Ghana’s MMDCE selection has been replete with similar tales. It’s on the basis of such disagreements that political stakeholders and other identifiable groups had long argued for the selection of MMDCEs through a Universal Adult Suffrage—that’s through partisan or non partisan voting.
It has been the thought of these groups that “if Ghanaians were capable enough to elect their Members of Parliament and a President of the Republic, why can’t same people elect their local representatives to head their District Assembles”?
Such proposition thus defeats the often stated counter argument that people are likely to vote for a local drunk to represent them at the Assemblies if the process was open to a popular voting.
In its manifesto prior to the 2016 elections, the NPP promised Ghanaians of committing the District Assemblies selection exercise to a Universal Suffrage. That suffered a jolt at birth. And in the midst of the brouhaha, sector Minister, Dan Botwe has disclosed that the government is still committed to the partisan election of MMDCEs.
Mr. Botwe disclosed that although government had shown commitment to the partisan approach to the process, there was lack of consensus agreement from the opposition NDC. In the view of the Minister, if the NDC had agreed to the partisan tabling of the process, there would have been a referendum to change the act to involve political party elections in the selection of MMDCEs.
The position of Minister Botwe has however come under intense criticism with people wondering whether the change in law should be subjected to any form of consensus building from, especially an opposition grouping that had all along kicked against the idea.
The logical conclusion reached by many observers was that the NPP was in itself not committed to the process; their attempt to expand the process through voting on political lines was only a façade and therefore saw the already known position of the NDC as well enough grounds to seek refuge.
The Today newspaper revealed to Ghanaians in one of its publications, the reasons why the President had delayed in announcing the list of potential MMDCEs. One of the main factors as the paper alluded to was the thorough scrutiny of the list to ensure that those who would be given the appointment will help the NPP to prosecute its “Beyond 8 Agenda” in 2024.
It’s been the wish of the ruling party to beat the unstated convention where all administrations in the 4th Republic had run their full cycle of two terms of 8-years tenure of office. Our finding was confirmed by the Deputy General Secretary of the NPP, Lawyer Obiri to the media after the release of the MMDCEs list.
In the said interview, Obiri Boahen charged the President to fire any Chief Executive for the various Assemblies who fails to help with the NPP vision of beating the 8-year political office cycle.
But NPP insiders have hinted this paper that the “Beat the 8” agenda is mainly linked to the prosecution of Vice President Dr. Mahmoud Bawumia’s presidential nomination bid to lead the NPP in the 2024 elections.
And the MMDCE nominees when approved will have the onerous duty of ensuring that Dr. Bawumia wins the NPP presidential primary.