US-based Ghanaian Professor, Kwaku Asare is advocating a drastic reduction in the number of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country.
Kwaku Azar, as he is popularly called, says the current 260 MMDAs in Ghana are “way too many” for a country of barely 30million people.
The number, he said, “guarantees that none of them and their districts will be well resourced to succeed.”
“Parliament should, therefore, amend the Local Government Act to take away the President’s power to create districts. In lieu of that, the number of MMD should be capped at 50,” he wrote on Facebook.
This reform, the economist believes would increase efficiency at the local government level.
Election of MMDCEs
Kwaku Azar has also backed the amendment of the Constitution that would take away the President’s power to appoint Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
To do that, two-thirds majority of all members of Parliament must vote to amend Article 243/1 of the 1992 Constitution.
A bill is already in the House to the effect. The opposition National Democratic Congress has, however, raised red flags about the bill.
Other portions of the Constitution which empower the President to fire an MMDCE have not been added to the amendment bill.
The opposition MPs say this does not make sense since the president can fire an elected MMDCE at will.
They say the governing NPP, which is 14 votes short of gaining the two-thirds majority would not have their blessing to take the bill through the House if the necessary changes are not made.
Meanwhile, Prof. Kwaku Azar is asking for more.
He wants Article 242(b) amended as well to “remove MPs from the district assemblies.”
Amending Article 242(d) “will take away the President’s power to…appoint 30% of assembly members,” he adds.
Partisan politics at Assemblies
Prof. Asare has, however, launched a campaign against a proposed change in the law to allow political party participation at the assemblies.
The nation is going to polls on December 17 in a referendum to reject the amendment of Article 55/3 of the Constitution which bars the parties from assembly elections.
He argues, allowing parties at the local level would make “it difficult to engage in collective and consensual decision making.”
Other ‘NO’ campaigners say the polarity at the national level by the duopoly of NPP and NDC must not be transferred to the Assemblies.
‘YES’ campaigners, led by the government insist partisan politics must be sent to all aspects of the country.
They also argue it would end ‘winner takes all’ in the executive structure, allowing other political parties to hold executive office, even when in opposition.