Story by Dominic Ghansah
MMDCEs must work to improve their interaction with their communities for the delivery of public goods, a survey conducted by the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana has recommended.
The survey identified that MMDCEs did not regularly interact with their communities, a situation the researchers described as worrying. Additionally, acrimony between MMDCE’s and MPs for the delivery of public goods ought to be resolved to avert the stifling of sustainable local development.
The survey also revealed that Party Constituency Chairpersons, were seen as the most influential on the MMDCEs with Chiefs having cordial relationship with MMDCEs.
The research which was conducted in 2017 and 2019 saw 27,500 respondents answering questions in relation to the appointment of MMDCEs, MMDCEs and influential Actors, Members of Parliament, Communities and developmental projects, Performance of MMDCEs and question relating to the 2020 Presidential Elections among others.
The survey, conducted in 275 Constituencies was on the theme: “Assessment of the Performance of MMDCE’s from the Perspective of the Constituents.”
The survey which also sought to ascertain popular opinions of MMDCEs Nationwide was funded by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, a German-based political foundation.
Mr. Kaakyire Frimpong, a Senior Lecturer of the Political Science Department and one of the Researchers noted that, as representatives of the President, MMDCEs were expected to travel to their constituents in other to ease the problem of “remoteness of the local people from the central government” and solve the fear of Central Government neglect in decision making.
Mr. Frimpong stated that the survey indicated that MMDCEs did not frequently visit their communities to obtain firsthand information and attend to their welfare in matters of concerns.
According to him, the survey revealed that 51.4 per cent of MMDCE’s visit their community once a while, whiles 39.0 per cent of respondents indicated that their MMDCE’s have never come to their communities.
He said almost half of the respondents denounced their MMDCEs for their inability to bring development to their localities.
He further indicated that 15.5 per cent of the respondent indicated they did not know of the development projects the MMDCEs have undertaken in their localities
Critical social infrastructure such as markets (4.3 per cent), roads (6.5 per cent) and schools (10.1 per cent) have received little attention.
The picture of low development is a reflection of the poor performance of the MMDCEs, only 2.4 per cent rated their MMDCEs in the delivery of community development projects as excellent; 6.3 per cent ‘very good’ and 24.6 per cent as ‘good’ a cumulative score of 33.3 per cent.
However, he said the question as to whether the performance of MMDCEs would affect the people’s choices in the 2020 Presidential poll, a little over half (51.0 per cent) said they would not link their choice of the president to the failures of the MMDCEs.
“But that should not give much comfort to the ruling party, given that a significant minority (39.9 per cent) said they would use the performance of the MMDCEs as proxy for the achievement of the President in the locality,” he added.
He explained that evidence from the survey showed that majority supported non-partisan choice of MMDCEs and assembly members.
“The responses to the election of assembly members on partisan lines were: Yes (24.0 per cent), No (69.4 per cent), don’t know (6.6 per cent),” the survey indicated.
On the election of MMDCEs on partisan lines, Mr. Frimpong said 31.4 per cent responded “Yes”, 61.5 per cent responded “No” and 7.1 per cent said they did not know.
He explained that the views expressed by the respondents in the study might have been influenced by the confusion that surrounded the referendum processes and the lack of education which led to the withdrawal of the Bills.
Mr. Frimpong said it was a worrying development that after decades of practicing the current local government system in Ghana, less than a fifth of the respondents could not answer the basic issue of mode of appointment of the MMDCE correctly.
He said similarly for several of the other questions in the survey, a large chunk of respondents, usually more than 40 per cent expressed lack of knowledge towards local governance which is closest to the people.
“There is the urgent need for the MMDAs, the NCCE, the media and other stakeholders to embark on intensive education to reverse this trend,” he stressed.
Professor Emmanuel Debrah, Director of the Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy noted that the survey was not based on speculation but they are realities on the ground.
Professor Debrah urged stakeholders to take note of the lessons drawn out of the survey seriously.
Dr Maame Gyekye-Jandoh, Head of Political Science Department said the survey which threw more light on local administration was going to help local development and political participation of the people at the grassroots.