The aL-hAJJ can confirm that President Akufo-Addo in a volte-face is running away from his election promise to amend the 1992 constitution to allow for the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
The President’s sudden change of mind follows concerns by political strategists of the governing New Patriotic Party that, if results of the proposed referendum and subsequent elections scheduled for late 2008 does not favor government, it may affect the chances of the ruling NPP in the 2020 elections.
“If the 2018 election of the MMDCEs is allowed, it would be like the midterm elections in the USA and you can imagine the repercussions on the main elections if the ruling party does not fare well…the consequences will be dire for the NPP,” a source in government disclosed to this paper.
While campaigning to be elected President, Nana Akufo-Addo promised to amend the constitution to break away from the practice of a president nominating MMDCEs to; allowing electorates to elect them directly.
Addressing a business forum in June 2016 in the UK, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that the phase of local governance must change in the country, stating “the time has come to bring accountability to local government through competitive politics. Election of DCEs at the local level can no longer be delayed. This is going to give a great boost to local initiatives and local self-reliance
MMDCEs are currently nominated by the president pursuant to Article 243(1) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 20(1) of the Local Government Act 1993, Act 462. They are also mandated per the law to be approved by overwhelming majority of members of the assembly.
After winning last year’s election, President Akufo-Addo revealed that the election of MMDCEs will start in 2018.
Addressing the Central Regional House of Chiefs in Cape Coast as part of his ‘Thank you tour’ in December 2016, the President said he would work closely with chiefs across the country by consulting them in the appointment of new MMDCEs until 2018 when elections should be held to fill the positions.
“In 2018, we are going to move to fully elected District Assembly representations including the choice of the District chief Executive (DCE). It is going to be done by the people of the districts and no longer by the nomination of the President.”
“But between now and then, all appointments to the District Assemblies is going to be by close consultation between my government and you the traditional authorities,” he said
The President last month named MMDCES for all 216 assemblies across the country. This was greeted with pockets of demonstrations by activists of the NPP who openly rejected some of the President’s nominees. Some assemblies have also voted against the President’s choice of MMDCEs.
But following concerns that a referendum in 2018 may have an impact in the 2020 elections if it does not favor the NPP, sources at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, have hinted that the referendum has been shifted to December 7, 2020.
Instead of conducting the referendum alongside the district assembly elections as planned, it has been shifted to December 2020 to run alongside the presidential and parliamentary elections,” the source revealed.