I have always advocated for the election of DCEs, but it is important to consider the loyalty a DCE supposed to keep with the presidency.
Choosing DCEs by elections also has its negative consequences for both government and the state as a whole.
Most often than not, I get sad by these phenomena when they seem to always come as prescriptions from the NPP. They usually set an agenda of selfishness and we, without reading between the lines follow sheepishly. What is the difference between having NPP DCEs in an NDC government from a government of ”All Inclusiveness”?
In our current dispensation where NDC is in government, if by an election an NPP candidate wins (which is most likely to happen in many of their strongholds in the Ashanti region) how do we expect compliance with developmental policies of the government by an NPP DCE. He will deliberately frustrate government projects in other that he would make the the latter unpopular and in the alternative, project his opposition party. Obviously this situation has a long term development effect with huge financial losses to the state. In my view, there is no substantial difference between this system and the ”Unity Government” system (Power Sharing) government.
Since by constitution Ghana is running a Presidential System of Government with decentralization as the hub of development, the lower level of the executive arm (MMDCEs) must hold strong allegiance to the central government for it to succeed in executing its manifesto programmes.
To avoid all the unwanted tensions characterizing the appointments of MMDCEs, it will be prudent to subject such process to an election. However I am of the view that once a government is formed by a particular political party, the election of a DCE must be done exclusively internally without the participation of other political party members.
In other words, the exercise would not be by universal suffrage, but rather by party membership and carried out just as the Party Primaries are held to elect the people’s choice to emerge as the DCE.
This is the only way we can keep the trust between a DCE and the central government and at the same time avoid the unpleasant controversies and events of rejecting Presidential nominees.
In view of this, a DCE though elected has a tenure and exercise of power only to the extent of his party’s stay in government.
I therefore believe that if we can collectively do something about our constitution to reflect these realities, it would help in resolving this quadrennial canker and further dilate the frontiers of our democracy. Thank you.
SHAIBU M. SHAMSU
26th June, 2016