The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, has tasked the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) to facilitate meetings with relevant stakeholders to help build consensus for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
Mr. Daniel Botwe said legal reforms to facilitate the election of MMDCEs “is an unfinished agenda” of the Government and indicated that the meetings with stakeholders would help to understand their position on major constitutional reforms.
Speaking to journalists at the 6th Congregation Ceremony of the ILGS at Madina, Accra, Mr Botwe said the outcome of the meetings would be submitted to the President for his consideration.
“We have met IDEG and CDD so, we are tasking the academic wing of the Ministry (ILGS) to start these breakfast meetings and talk to all stakeholders whether we can narrow down on where we differ and see whether there is agreement,” he said.
The Minister said the contention regarding whether elections at the local level should be partisan would be resolved through the consultations to inform the nature of the required legal reforms.
“The position of my Party (New Patriotic Party) is that it should be partisan, but we will still want to reach a broader consensus. If it is the case that it should be partisan then the amendments must take place,” Mr Botwe said.
Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched clause, prohibits the inclusion of party politics in local governance.
A planned referendum to amend that portion of the Constitution was aborted in 2019 due to the lack of consensus among key stakeholders on the involvement of political parties in elections at the local level.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the opening of a three-day orientation for confirmed MMDCEs in Accra in 2021, announced the Government’s intention to revisit the referendum after reaching consensus on the matter.
“Should such a consensus be attained for the repeal of Article 55(3), and an agreement reached for political parties to participate in and sponsor candidates for election in the MMDCEs at any point during my tenure of office as President of the Republic, the matter would be brought back to the front burner of public discourse for the necessary action to be taken,” the President said.
The ILGS was commissioned in 1999 as a project of the then Ministry of Local Government to provide consistent and regular capacity-building programmes for the Local Government sector.
The ILGS is also responsible for undertaking research in local governance and providing consultancy and advisory services to the Government, units of local Government and other parties requiring such services.
A total of 111 students who pursued various postgraduate programmes at the ILGS graduated at Saturday’s Congregation.
Professor Nicholas Awortwi, the Director of ILGS, appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to grant the Institute Presidential Charter to enable it to award its own degrees.
The ILGS is currently affiliated to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Prof Awortwi said the ILGS had built its capacity under the tutelage of KNUST, adding that the autonomy requested “will enhance our upward trajectory without limiting our core mandate “