Government is working gradually towards the election of MMDCES – Pius Hadzide
Government is working gradually towards fulling its campaign promise of electing municipal, metropolitan and district chief executives (MMDCEs), Mr Pius Enam Hadzide, the Deputy Minister of Information, said on Thursday.
He said the New Patriotic Party’s promise to ensure that Ghana elected MMDCE’s was “a process and not an event” and so the citizens must rest assured that that promise would be fulfilled in due time.
He said the Government already had a roadmap towards the election of MMDCEs, “which we are following closely”.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s roundtable discussion in Accra on Wednesday, Mr Hadzide said electing MMDCEs demanded some amendment to the portions of the Constitution with some entrenched clauses.
He said touching those entrenched clauses would not happen within the first 20 months of any government “but there is clear commitment on our part to ensuring that that is done”.
Mr Hadzide said the setting up of an Elections of MMDCES Committee, review of legislations and preparations of background of the document, undertaking some media engagements to carry the people along, as well as drafting of an amendment act that would aid the process, were part of the activities being undertaken.
The Roundtable was organised by Penplusbytes, a not-for-profit organisation, under its “Metogu” (Keep the Pressure on) programme, which involves citizens’ assessment of the issue of corruption, the various interventions of government in dealing with the canker and assessing specific sector promises it proposed to fight corruption in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
The programme was being funded by the UK-AID under its Strengthening Action Against Corruption.
It was to help the Government to respond to the findings in the Metogu research that solicited the views of 792 respondents in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western and Volta regions.
The study revealed that 90 per cent of citizens were of the opinion that the Government was not serious about passing the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, noting that an RTI law was the foundation to bring about true transparency and accountability in promoting good governance and curbing corruption.
Commenting on the work of the Special Prosecutor, Mr Hadzide said the Government wanted to truly make the Office more independent to investigate and prosecute corrupt officials.
He said the Government continued to show its commitments towards the fight against corruption through the establishment of the Office, saying, the only consideration for choosing Mr Martin Amidu as the Special Prosecutor was not because the New Patriotic Party saw him as one of their own but it was because of his demonstrated commitment towards the fight against corruption.
He said the Office of the Special Prosecutor was being deliberately and adequately resourced with human and material resources, amidst other competing programmes.
Mr Hadzide said the Office of the Head of Civil Service was also working to ensure proper recruitment of the right personnel to the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
He said in spite of the limitations confronting the Office, the law empowered the Special Prosecutor to do some work, in collaborating with Economic and Organised Crime Organisation and the Attorney General, which he was already doing.
The Deputy Minister said the Government was also working towards strengthening the National Health Insurance Scheme and to pass a Legislative Instrument that would it to work effectively.
Dr Franklin Oduro, the Deputy Executive Director, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), expressed regret that both the NPP and the National Democratic Congress had failed Ghanaians by not passing the RTI Bill.
He said the fight against corruption should be devoid of bi-partisanship adding; “The more we reduce the fight against corruption to bi-partisan position, the less efforts we put in fighting it”.