The government has been asked to continue the processes towards the review of Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution for the election of municipal and district chief executives (MDCEs) on the ticket of political parties.
An amendment of that nature will boost inclusive representation and enable the country to realise the essentials of good governance and help accelerate national development.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CBS Consulting, Dr Valentin Kwasi Mensah, who made the call during a webinar by the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG) on May 25, underlined the need for urgent local government reforms after practising the current regime for more than 30 years.
“Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution should be amended, for the election of municipal and district chief executives.”
“If political parties engaging in the election of municipal and district chief executives is not acceptable, then we are denying ourselves of an important factor for development and controlling corruption,” he said.
The government between 2018 and 2019, pursued the amendment of Article 55(3) to enable multiparty participation in the districts and 243(1) for the election of MDCEs, to reform the local governance system and devolve more power and resources to the local communities.
However, the national referendum scheduled for December 17, 2019, was truncated for lack of adequate public knowledge and broad-based consensus on the reforms.
Since then, both the government, led by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), have restated their commitment to reset and pursue local governance reforms.
While the NPP’s agenda on local governance reforms include the direct and popular election of MDCEs and the legalisation of political parties’ participation, the opposition NDC proposes the election of MDCEs devoid of political parties’ involvement.
Dr Mensah maintained that there was enough consensus at both political and citizen levels to have MDCEs elected into office by the people; the challenge, therefore, was the involvement of political parties.
He explained that having the election should be the priority of all but ensuring political participation was crucial to accelerate development in the country.
He added that there was a need for the country to pursue a vigorous national decentralisation programme by allowing citizens to decide who led them at the district assembly level.
The CEO was speaking on the topic, “The economic consequences of Ghana's cultural values and public policies: a critical appraisal of formal and informal institutions”.
Given Ghana’s slow pace of development, he said the country needed to adopt experiences and lessons from Singapore and South Korea to transform and change its fortune for the better.
“A key to identifying the causes of poverty and stagnation in low-income economies may be found in the experiences of economies that escaped from the same trap. Thus, the experiences of Singapore and South Korea are relevant,” he said.
Towards that, he said, the fundamental values proposed by Ghana Beyond Aid should be reduced to a maximum of five and presented to Parliament for public debate and review to attract the attention of the nation.
He said the implementation of the Ghana Beyond Aid initiative had suffered because its fundamental values had not been adopted for the country.
“We need effective public communication to ensure the citizens are inculcated with the values of the Ghana Beyond Aid initiative,” he said.
He said due to the importance of productivity and savings for development, special efforts should be made to reduce the time and resources spent on unproductive rituals.
He added that the financial regulatory environment must be enhanced to facilitate savings and investment on the stock exchange and in other financial institutions.