ELECTION OF MMDCES UNDER PARTISAN POLITICS?
11th June, 2019
Ghana Catholic Bishop Conference
P.O.Box KA 9712
Airport – Accra
ELECTION OF MMDCES UNDER PARTISAN POLITICS?
Your Grace, I humbly write to draw the attention of your revered Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as the other faith based communities in Ghana to the elections of MMDCES.
I write as the President of Independent Candidates Association of Ghana *(ICAG)* and also based on my personal participation on the subject matter on GTV on 25th April, 2019 with CSOs, *Ghana Journalists Association, Ministry of Local Government* and other stakeholders.
My attention was drawn to your recent meeting held with political parties concerning election of MMDCEs which was reported by GNA and published on:
The report summarised that the representatives of the political parties had “…agreed in principle, the election of MMDCEs.” The report further stated that “…Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution prohibits political party sponsorship of candidates for elections to district assemblies or local government units, the government proposes a referendum to amend the Constitution to allow for the election of members of district assembly and MMDCEs based on political party representation”.
Your Grace, there are *two glaring questions to be asked about this path the nation wants to take:*
1.“Do Ghanaians want the election to be under political partisanship or in consonance with the 1992 constitution?”.
2. “ *Should the government spend more of the taxpayer’s money to amend only article 55(3) which will bring about more election costs?”*
In the light of continual increase of *polarization* of the Ghanaian society, political partisanship at such a basic level will only serve to drive deeper the rifts in our communities. Granted, the current power of the President to appoint MMDCEs could be seen as partisan, which it is. This was already in a way, conflicting with the part of the *constitution that prevented political interference in local governance* and it is a positive step to want to take this power away from the President- *this needs no referendum as it is not entrenched.* However, we will be moving from the proverbial frying pan to fire if we allow for political party representation in local governance.
The combined effect of Articles *55 (3) and 246 stipulate non partisan elections of members of District Assemblies.* It is therefore the spiritual and patriotic obligation of my team that *we do not need to spend on any referendum to amend article 55(3). Article 55(3) is unambiguous of the need for political parties to stay away from local governance.*
Furthermore, *Article 248* stipulates:
1) A Candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower local government unit shall present himself to the electorate as an individual, and shall not use any symbol associated with any political party.
2) A political party shall not endorse, sponsor, offer a platform to or in anyway campaign for or against a candidate seeking election to a District Assembly or any lower government unit.
We need to save the lower levels of government from winner takes all governance, vigilantism, corruption, political patronage and polarization inflaming communities.
In conclusion, if the decision to go ahead with the referendum is nevertheless given the green light, there should be careful steps taken to ensure there is no lumping of critical questions together to confuse the public . The two key questions that can enable this referendum should be:
1. Do you want to elect your MMDCES? Yes or No
2. Do you want to elect your MMDCES under Political Parties ? Yes or No
It shall be a travesty of justice against Ghanaians for the question, “ *Do you want to elect your MMDCES under political parties* ?” to be used in the referendum. This will simply make the referendum unclear and dishonest.
Thank you once again for your consideration to help clarify this with all stakeholders and we hope the next generation will have the opportunity to correct the ails due to partisanship in order to build our nation.
*Jacob Osei Yeboah (aka JOY2012)*
(Independent Presidential Candidate 2012 & 2016
Speaker of Parliament
Ghana Christian Council
Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council
Ghana Islamic Council
Ghana Ahmadiyya Mission
The National House of Chiefs
Independent Candidates Association of Ghana