Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executive’s (MMDCEs) have been asked by the President to remain at post in an acting capacity until substantive MMDCEs are appointed. This has been the situation for the past 8 months. One would have expected that a new government administration would be followed by a newly appointed government representatives at the district level to run the affairs of the district.
This has been the call by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), practitioners and policy makers that the delays in appointing MMDCEs is first of a kind to happen in Ghana and that the claim of completed nominations and subsequent announcements of the various MMDCEs be immediately be made public to alley the worries of the public.
Worryingly the acting MMDCEs have been warned not to take policy decisions in their acting roles; yet in the performance of their functions MMDCEs must take critical policy decisions as stipulated under section 20 (2) (a)-(d) of the Local Governance Act (2016) Act 936.
These decisions are not limited to those related to Development Planning, Social Services, Works, Justice and Security, and Finance and Administration since they are chairpersons of these committees.
The translation of policies into pro-poor services which is occasioned by the validation of Medium-Term Development Plans (MTDP) in some district has slowed down due to the current situation of acting MMDCEs. Procurement of goods and services has stalled due to key decisions that has to be taken. The inability of the acting MMDCEs to make decisions on the security landscape of the district is also an issue to worry about because they are chairpersons of the District Security Committees.
In the long term, the delays in the implementation of pro poor services will lead to a situation where districts will have a shorter term to implement their delayed projects in the first year of their MTDP. Given that the MTDP is implemented in a 4-year period, the delays will mean all the top-level decision that has to be taken within the acting period of MMDCEs must be forwarded to the next year which reduces the time frame for such projects to be completed.
The manifestation of all these in poverty and inequality is that poor households in many rural districts will have limited or no access to both monetary and non-monetary poverty resources mostly delivery by the districts. This is happening now because projects to deliver social services that require policy decisions cannot be taken.