Over 69 per of Ghanaians supports the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), the 2017 edition of the Afrobarometer report has revealed.
The report, launched on Tuesday in Accra, revealed that support for elected rather than appointed MMDCEs was strong across the demographic groups, major political parties and regions.
However, regional analysis shows that the only region, that wants the status quo (appointment of MMDCEs by the President) maintained was the Upper West.
The study, which was under the auspices of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, was conducted from September 9 to 25 2017 across the country.
The Afrobarometer team in Ghana led by the Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD Ghana) interviewed 2,400 adult Ghanaians in the survey. With a margin of error of +two per cent at a 95 per cent confidence level.
Six rounds of previous Afrobarometer surveys have been conducted in Ghana in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2012 and 2014.
According to CDD-Ghana, the data is being release at a time when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had emphasised the government’s commitment to push for a law that would make MMDCEs positions elective in a bid to improve transparency and accountability at the local level.
Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, who launched the report, commended the Afrobarometer Ghana team for the excellent work they put in the survey and in the analysis of the findings.
He also expressed gratitude to the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and other development partners for their continued support for the Afrobarometer.
According to the findings of the study, almost seven in every ten Ghanaians (69 per cent) said the MMDCEs’ position should be made elective, including 55 per cent who “agree very strongly”.
It showed that only one-quarter (25 per cent) want to maintain the current system of appointment by the President with approval by the local assembly.
It said the strong support for elective MMDCEs is consistent with previous Afrobarometer survey findings (60 per cent in 2008 and 71 per cent in 2012.
The report revealed that the support for the election of MMDCEs was strong across democratic groups, including supporters of both the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
According to the report, it was stronger among citizens with higher education (73 per cent secondary and 70 per cent post-secondary) than those with no formal education (59 per cent).
It said in the Upper West Region, however, a majority (52 per cent) of citizens prefer appointment of MMDCEs, while only about one-third (36 per cent) support making these positions elective.
It noted that a slim majority (51 per cent) of Ghanaians say election of MMDCEs should be non-partisan like local government councillors’ election, while a sizeable minority (41 per cent) would prefer partisan election.
However, 66 per cent hold the view that local government councillor elections are not really non-partisan.
The report said among those who want MMDCEs elections to be fashioned after local government counci elections, 70 per cent do not think the latter were non-partisan.
Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, called for more education and sensitisation on the Afrobarometer research findings, so that in September 2019, when the issue was put to referendum, it would be overwhelmingly approved by Ghanaians.
Mr Newton Norviewu, a Researcher, CDD Ghana and Mr Daniel Armah Attoh, Senior Research Officer, CDD Ghana, jointly presented the findings of the report at the meeting.
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in more than 35 countries in Africa. Through its findings, ordinary citizens can have a voice in policy-making processes that affect their lives.
In attendance at the event were political parties representatives, civil society organisations, district assembly members, think thanks and development partners.