THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM NEEDS A REVIEW – DR JONAH
Dr Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), has described the current local government system as inadequate to ensure a sustainable multi-party democracy process.
This, he said, has necessitated IDEG and the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) to review and advocate for a more robust local government system that could sustain the current multi-party democratic dispensation.
He identified the appointment of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCES) and the 30 per cent of the members of the assembly by the president without the involvement of the political parties as the main factors weakening the current local governance system.
Dr Jonah said this when he addressed stakeholders at a regional dialogue on democratic devolution which was organized under the theme: “Strengthening democratic development through multi-party based local government “in Wa, the Upper West Region.
He called for direct elections of MMDCE’s by the people on the ticket of political parties saying this would ensure accountability in the area.
Dr Jonah said political parties should be freely allowed to participate in the district level elections to help reduce the apathy that is normally associated with the local government elections.
He said this is because the political parties would mobilize voters, raise pertinent issues and promote political debate during the elections.
He called for the scraping of the 30 percent government appointee system to the assemblies and this should be replaced with a proportional representation system so that more people with the requisite experience can enter the assemblies and consideration could be given to some interest groups.
Dr Jonah called for an increase in the district assembly common fund from 7.5 percent of tax revenue to 15 per cent, to help promote faster development of the local communities.
Mr Seth Abloso, member of the CFI and a labour consultant, said the multi -party governance system which the country is practicing is being threatened by political violence.
He called for more to be done to help reduce the tension that often grips the nation when the election season approaches.
Mr Abloso said as the nation prepares for elections, there is the need to secure the commitment of the political parties to continue with the constitutional amendment process after the 2016 election.
Dr Peter Atudiwe Atupare, a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, said elections in Ghana have been characterised by electoral violence and acrimony because the competing political parties view the election as ‘do-and-die affair’ because of the ‘winner-takes-all’ system.
Therefore, he said, there was a moral and political obligation for any party that takes the reins of government to bring the constitutional amendment process to a closure by implementing the recommendations of the CRC.
In a speech read by the Deputy Regional Minister, Dr. Mushiebu Mohammed Alfa, he said this regional dialogue is an opportunity to engage more with stakeholders on whether as a country we are ready for further democratic revolution at the local level apart from the current decentralization programmes taking place.
Dr. Alfa said the government is more poised than ever to make the December 7th elections free, fair and credible and would ensure that all stakeholders join forces to make the dream become a reality.
He commended IDEG and CFI for activating the Civil Society Election Situation Rooms across the ten regions to monitor election related issues and report on potential violence situation to relevant agencies to ensure the credibility of the upcoming polls.
SOURCE: JULIUS DUDIMAH