Local governance expert, George Kyei-Baffour, says directive by the Local Government Minister to Regional Ministers to act in the stead of relived Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), is unconstitutional and must be stopped.
A statement signed by the Local Government Minister, Akwasi Opong-Fosu, last Sunday directed 33 MMDCEs who have not been re-nominated to hand over to their respective Regional Ministers with immediate effect.
But Kyei-Baffour, who is also a former President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) told Joy News, civil society groups and the media must rise against the continuous violation of the Constitution by governments in appointing ministers to act in vacant assemblies.
He said “Regional Ministers have no status in terms of the Constitutional arrangement to act as MMDCEs.”
According to him, Article 242 of the Constitution clearly stipulates the “composition of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies [but when government] asks a Regional Minister to go and act how does he fit in the scheme of things?”
According to him, the acting Regional Minister becomes an alien to the Assembly since the Minister would not have been approved by the members of the Assembly.
Mr. Kyei-Bafour also said the recent rejection of the President’s MMDCE nominations calls for a rethink of the need to elect chief executives through universal adult suffrage.
“The protestations are an indication of the frustration of the people in terms of determining who leads them at the local level, so government would have to take serious view of this”, he stated.
He said once the MMDCEs get elected into office, they would be mandated to leave immediately their tenure of office is due, stressing they would not continue to stay in office after they have been ordered to vacate their post by the President – as it pertains in some cases now.
The local governance expert also condemned the public announcement of removal of office of MMDCEs – calling it a ridicule to the very important office.
According to Mr Kyei-Baffuor, even though the Constitution has made room for decentralisation by allowing a national government, led by the Executive and local government, run by MMDCEs, the Executive has always interfered with the work of the local government.
He said the situation where the Executive uses part of the District Assemblies Common Fund – which is supposed to be managed by the MMDCEs – for other projects must be stopped.