Ghanaians are being called upon to support a proposal by a group, We the People Matter Movement, which is suggesting a constitutional amendment to decentralize Ghana’s Parliament for accelerated development.
The group also wants Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) elected on party tickets.
In a statement to solicit support copied to The New Crusading GUIDE, the group argued that government scraps the current system where Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected on party lines from across the country and converge at the national capital (Parliament House) to perform their duties as lawmakers.
In their view, the current system over the years, has failed and so puts forward that, the 1992 Constitution, be amended to allow MPs go back to their respective regions, get elected, and form regional parliaments, to help develop other parts of the country.
“We The People Matter Movement are of the view that the country can change this party line of voting by constituting regional parliaments. Voting will then be carried out at the regional levels devoid of partisan interest. In our opinion, this parliamentary decentralization will help bring an end to the majority and minority “sickness” that stagnate the rate of Ghana’s development,” a member of the group Sa-ad Iddrisu who signed said.
They blamed Ghana’s underdevelopment partly on its ability to elect MMDCEs on party tickets.
“Therefore, we are calling for amendments to our constitution so we can have a “full” decentralization by moving our Hon. MPs back to their various regions to constitute a regional parliament. This will help decongest Accra and also create more investment opportunities and development in other regions. The MPs can move back to their regions and form a regional parliament”.
It said, the amendment will ensure that a portion of the current Constitution, which says majority of Ministers must necessarily come from Parliament, will cease to exist so that other citizens outside of Parliament can also hold those appointments.
According to the group, this will automatically aid lawmakers, who per the law will owe no allegiance to any party, perform their role of checking the executive from abusing it powers.
“With the new decentralized system, we can create a constitutional provision such that MPs would no longer hold ministerial appointments or board member positions. Such positions should be reserved for other citizens, too.
This will separate the legislative arm completely from the executive and ensure proper policing of the executives by the legislators. We are also of the view that this proposal would not be a hindrance to an MP’s roles of policing the executive as well as passing laws”, the statement said.
Making a case for the election of MMDCEs on party ticket, We The People Matter Movement, forcefully argued that the handpicking of Metropolitan, Municipal, District, Chief Executives by the executive, has also added to the woes of the country.
All effort to get the Regional Minister and E.T. Mensah prove futile.
The group diagnosed that often, Chief Executives are more concerned about the interest of their party and how to use that privileged position, to become a parliamentarian rather than seeing to it that development is brought to their areas.
“The appointment of MCEs/DCEs by the executive arm of government at our local government areas has also affected the development of those areas negatively. MCEs/DCEs are more concerned about their party’s interest and how to use their positions as a stepping stone to contest an MP’s position. This makes the MCEs/DCEs very much unconcerned about development at their local levels.
We are proposing that the local areas be made to elect their MCEs/DCEs. If, for instance, the people of the Kumasi metropolitan assembly elect an NPP candidate as their MCE under an NDC government in power, it will strengthen our democracy at the local level and reduce the “too much” power of the central government.
The NPP MCE in Kumasi will put the NDC government on its toes (either through taking the government to court or other means) to make sure the government doesn’t delay in the release of funds to their metropolis”.
The group continued “Furthermore, since the MPs represent the constituencies in the various regions, they are more abreast with the developmental needs of their people, so collectively as MPs in the regional parliaments, they can put more checks on the elected MCEs/DCEs to ensure basic development needs are met in the respective constituencies”.