Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and individuals with expertise and interest in good governance have formed a coalition to advocate for reforms in the country’s local governance and decentralization system to make it more responsive to service delivery and development.
The Coalition for Local Government Reforms in Ghana, made up of over 38 members, seeks to promote an agenda to get the State to address the challenges that have inhibited local governance from serving the needs of citizens.
Among others, the group is pushing for the amendment of Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution to open up local elections for multi-party competition.
Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at CDD, Dr. Kojo Asante, said Ghanaians have expressed strong support for the election of MMDCEs as a recent Center for Democratic Development (CDD) survey revealed that 76% of Ghanaians are in favor of electing their MMDCEs.
“This is the highest level of support recorded since the Center began tracking this issue…there seems to be bi-partisan support for the election of MMDCEs because the NPP in its 2020 manifesto re-affirmed its commitment to electing MMDCEs on partisan lines, while the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC’s) 2020 manifesto similarly committed the party to the idea of elected MMDCEs,” he added.
While the introduction of multi-party competition in local government elections has been touted as somewhat a panacea to persisting local government challenges as advocated by local government champions, others also argued that without accompanying consequential reforms, the election of MMDCEs, either on partisan or non-partisan basis, will not necessarily create a sufficient condition for the local governance system to deliver.
Dr. Asante said, “In essence, when all is said and done, Ghana’s local government arrangement must deliver effective services and development that benefit local citizens wherever they may find themselves.”
The Coalition is expected to undertake a nationwide regional-level consultation in all 16 regions with identifiable stakeholders such as traditional leaders, political parties, the media and Community Based Organizations (CBOs), local assemblymen and women and local bureaucracy.
This will help us gain additional insight from the various groups about their perspectives, interests and position; and to derive possible proposals for policy consideration that contribute to the ongoing discourse on local government reforms.