Baba Jamal advocates election of DCEs

Mr. Mohammed Babal Jamal, the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, has called for the election of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executive (MMCDE) in order for them to be more accountable to the people. He appealed to the Constitutional Review Commission to amend the constitutional provision which allows the President to nominate the MMCDE subject to approval by assembly members.

Mr. Babal Jamal said the current situation did not make the MMCDE more accountable to the people they are serving but the President. He said this on Wednesday at a day’s workshop organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Koforidua to complement the work of the Constitutional Review Commission by the focusing on views at the grassroots.

Mr. Babal Jamal suggested that those who would contest for the MMDCE position should be nominated by the President and to be elected by the Universal Adult Suffrage. He also suggested that article 244(2) of the 1992 constitution that requested the Presiding Member (PM) of the district assembly be elected by at least two-third majority of all the members of the assembly should be amended.

Mr. Babal Jamal said in practice it had proved difficult to achieve leaving several assemblies voting on countless occasions before achieving the two-third majority. He said the provision should allow the PM be elected by simple majority.

Some of the participants also were of the view that if the election of MMDCE would not be opened to everybody but rather members of the ruling party, then the status quo be maintained since it would be a waste of resources.

On the issue of political parties sponsoring people contesting District Assembly election, participants were of the view that it would bring another political tension and acrimony, therefore, the current provision should be maintained.

Dr. Michael Ofori-Mensah a Policy Analyst of IEA said Institute was not trying to replicate the work of the Constitutional Review Commission but only to solicit views from the grassroots. He said democracy in Ghana could further be strengthened if the short comings experienced over the last 17 years were addressed by taking into consideration the concerns of vulnerable and marginalized groupies.

Dr. Ofori-Mensah said it was against that background that the IEA was undertaking research and advocacy on certain provisions of the constitution that it believed required critical examination. He said in the view of IEA the best way to address the concerns of marginalized groups, particularly women and people with disabilities, was to create opportunity for gender advocates and representatives of such groups to speak for themselves. GNA

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