The failed referendum on the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in 2019 was caused by some civil society organisations, a Deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr O.B. Amoah, has said
“We appreciate that there was so much damage caused by certain civil society organisations about this whole referendum thing. It got to a point, people were very vociferous about the fact that we should not introduce multi-party elections at the local level and that might have shaped the minds of those that are now responding that multi-party is so bad at the top that we should not bring it down,” Mr Amoah said at the 2021 Ghana Speaks Lecture organised by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) last Tuesday.
The event was on the topic: “Reconstructing Local Governance and Multiparty Democracy in the Fourth Republic: Proposals”.
The annual programme began in 2007 during Ghana’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
The recent nomination of persons for the positions of MMDCEs and rejection of some of them by assembly members has reignited the age-old debate on their elections.
Contributing to the discussion at the lecture, Mr Amoah said the government went very far with the election of MMDCEs with the Constitutional Instrument (CI) for the referendum which never took place.
He said even within the New Patriotic Party (NPP), some were not in favour of the process since they did not understand why the party should share power when it was in government.
“But the President was very insistent, the President was focused, the President said that this is not the only country practising it. Across the world and even in Africa, you have such situation,”’ he said.
He said from 2017, it was clear that there was the need for consensus and that certain hurdles needed to be cleared before it could succeed.
“We worked very well and at the parliamentary level, you could see that there were strong advocates on both sides as to the way forward and that somehow, at the last moment, we saw that our colleagues from the other side thought we should go back to the original situation,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the platform would help bring everybody on board on the election of MMDCEs.