The Chamber for Local Governance (ChaLoG) has accused the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of acting in “bad faith” when he instructed the withdrawal of the Bill to amend Article 243 (1) from Parliament.
Article 243 (1) of the 1992 constitution requires the President to appoint metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives. The Bill was to amend the article to allow Ghanaians the opportunity to elect their metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives.
The bill was at the consideration stage waiting for the third reading, which is the final before a presidential assent could be given: the second reading was done in June this year.
But in a televised address to the nation on Sunday, December 1, President Akufo-Addo announced the withdrawal of the Bill in addition to aborting the December 17 referendum on whether the district level elections should be conducted on partisan lines.
“It is with deep regrets that I have given instructions to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development who will spear this process on behalf of government with commendable vigour and dynamism to abort the process and seek the withdrawal of the Bills for the amendment of the constitution both in respect of Article 243(1) and Article 55(3),” the President stated.
But the Chamber for Local Governance said it received the president’s directive with “deep disappointment”.
“This decision clearly vindicates ChaLoG’s long held position that the government was all along not committed to the amendment of Article 243(1) but yet wanted the Referendum to be held first on 17th December, 2019,” the Chamber said in a statement on Monday.
According to the them, the decision to withdraw the bill on the amendment of Article 243(1) is completely at variance with the NPP government’s own 2016 manifesto document put together prior to the general elections in which the party promised to ensure the election of MMDCEs within 24 months in office.
“Does it stand to reason, that the withdrawal also means, that the government is no longer committed to pursuing the election of MMDCEs as Ghanaians were made to believe prior to the 2016 general election?” the Chamber asked.
It further noted, “ChaLoG is of the firm belief that the government per the decision to withdraw the bill to amend Article 243 (1) from Parliament has acted in very bad faith, in view of the fact that the Referendum bill which has just been withdrawn was not going to give approval for the election of MMDCEs.”
Meanwhile, it said most Ghanaians still believe that the election of MMDCEs on nonpartisan basis is still doable.
“It is against this backdrop, that we are making a passionate appeal to the Government to rescind its decision to withdraw the bill to amend Article 243 (1) from Parliament to afford Ghanaians the opportunity to elect their own MMDCEs.”