Professor Ransford Gyampo says he has had to defy his well-wishers to break his silence on the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives( MMDCEs), arguing that electing them on a non-partisan basis has serious dangers notwithstanding the benefits.
The Associate Professor of Political Science who is under investigation by the University of Ghana for alleged sexual harassment charges after a BBC Documentary, argues that electing MMDCEs on a non-partisan basis is not a panacea to the extreme partisanship in our political space.
In a post on Facebook, Prof Gyampo gives the benefits and dangers of elected non-partisan MMDCEs in the hope that “there will be some more information to determine which way to go should the debate on the election of MMDCEs with or without political parties be resurrected.”
Among the benefits of electing MMDCEs without political parties participating, he cites the opportunity offered to members of the same party to contest; freedom of executives to be independent and take individuals positions; the absence of a polarised political atmosphere; a reduction in the expenditure of candidates and so on.
However, he also provides the dangers of that process. He writes for instance:
“First, it will increase the role of financiers with their own agenda at the local level to sponsor candidates of their choice, manipulate them to push agendas that may run contrary to the interest of the local people and the programmes of the central government, as well as subject the elected MMDCEs to all manner of corrupting influences and practices. Indeed, there would be over 1,300 candidates, that is, at least 5 candidates in each of the 260 districts who may contest the elections not on party basis and with different agendas. There is no blueprint as to who will supervise these candidates and there has not been any serious thinking about how the elected MMDCE via this option would relate with the central government. There is the possibility of serious sabotage and more confusion between the central government and the elected MMDCE with no known political affiliation, who may either be independent or be manipulated by money bags with a quid pro quo agenda in mind.
Second, it will perpetuate the winner-takes-all politics as minority political parties, which have lost national elections, are excluded and marginalized from the executive arm of government at the local level as is currently the practice. By way of illustration, Kenya represents a classic case in Africa where the feeling of marginalization is so high after elections. However, the introduction of the participation of political parties in local government elections has reduced the politics of exclusion and compensated for the painful defeat of the opposition at national election, particularly in their strongholds. Even though the minority parties lost in 2013 and 2017 at the national level, they won at the County level and therefore have access to executive power. Being part of the Counties has enabled the minority parties to contribute their quota to local development and improved delivery of public services.”