The Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, has described as misleading, President Akufo-Addo’s assertion that his proposed referendum on the matter of electing MMDCEs was called off due to a lack of consensus.
According to him, there is and has always been a consensus on the need for MMDCEs to be elected through elections.
The objection to the President’s proposal was the involvement of political parties in the election of MMDCEs, that, Sulemana Braimah said, did not receive the needed support.
“I think that the President’s statement is quite misleading if he states emphatically that there was or is no consensus on the matter of electing MMDCEs. I think that there is consensus. The only difference is whether or not we should have MMDCEs elected on partisan basis or otherwise,” he said.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile Saturday, Sulemana Braimah stated that “I remember the NDC at some point came out to say well, they’re opposed to it and therefore will urge their members to vote NO, and they also made it clear that it wasn’t because they are opposed to the main idea of electing MMDCEs, but their point was that it should be done in a non-partisan way so that people will not contest for MMDCEs on the ticket of NPP, NDC, APC and so on and so forth.”
“And the argument they made at the time was, it will be an extension of violent scenes that we see during national elections being extended to the district level. And we need some level of cohesion and all of that at the district level.”
“For the President and those who were in support of his position, the idea was that we needed to vote to have MMDCEs on the basis of NPP, NDC and so on and so forth, and they went on to say that yes even though that may result in the fact that if you take the Volta Region for example, at the moment, we will end up having DCEs who are aligned to the NDC, what that will give us is some sort of power sharing, so that the whole idea that the President is too powerful, appoints everyone and so on would be diminished.
“So, there is consensus when it comes to electing our MMDCEs, where there is no consensus is, whether it should be done on a partisan basis or not,” he added.
He noted that if the President was indeed keen on having MMDCEs elected as he had emphatically stated, he could simply trigger an amendment of Article 243(1) which deals with the appointment of MMDCEs.
“And I have said that my view is that it shouldn’t be done on a partisan basis, and on that score, if we will want to have it done in terms of elections, it’s not just the case of Article 55(3), I think it is about Article 243(1) which actually makes it possible for Parliament to make an amendment because that provision is not an entrenched provision, and for that reason, Parliament can make changes to the particular clause which says that there shall be a district chief executive for every district who shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds of members of the assembly.
“And so once it’s not an entrenched clause, it’s just about getting Parliament to do it. So if indeed the President is committed to the principle of having our MMDCEs elected, nothing stops him from making a proposal for Parliament to amend Article 243(1) basically to read something like there shall be a Chief Executive for every district who shall be elected by qualified voters in a particular district through universal adult suffrage, and there we go to have our MMDCEs elected,” he explained.