The President, Nana Akufo-Addo, on Friday, September 17, 2021, left Ghana for the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, after issuing a nationwide security alert ahead of making the names of those he had selected as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) public.
The warning from the highest security decision making body in the country chaired by the President himself, had stated that “there are indications of possible clashes ahead of the announcement of MMDCEs in parts of the country,” adding “REGSEC, MUSEC and DISEC are hereby urged to be on high alert to pre-empt breach of peace in the respective areas.”
Interestingly, many have observed that the President mostly leaves town ahead of such major announcements with dire consequences for his party’s cohesion, and this trip to the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, is seen as one of those clever moves he does to escape backlash from his own party members.
The President, had every means to announce the names last week, but referred it to the Minister of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, to do. The release was further delayed to enable the President leave Ghana for the US.
The National Security Coordinator, had issued the alerts to all security council across the nation ahead of the announcement as the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had been engulfed by tension and uncertainty over who and who become Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executive.
Delay in nominating the chief executives for the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, has been a matter of concern to many groups and individuals.
In the governing party, the long wait has fuel tension, especially among party folks who had believed in Akufo-Addo enterprise since 2007 and worked hard for the NPP’s victory in 2016.
They hold the view that they must get an appointment from him at least in the three more years left on his stewardship, having been sidestepped in his first term of office.
The alert from the National Security Secretariat, captured in the form of a memo, had the subject: ‘anticipating of possible violence ahead of the announcement of MMDCES’. It was issued on Thursday, September 16 to chairs of Regional Security Councils (REGSECs), Municipal Security Councils (MUSECs) and District Security Councils (DISECs).
But it is obvious that National Security is not the only worried party in this matter. In a tweet on Saturday, September 18, a cousin of the President, Gabby OtchereDarko, said “this is not a do or die affair”.
His tweet was ahead of the announcement on Sunday, September 19 by the Minister of Local Government.
Gabby OtchereDarko wrote “the only list which matters will be put out Sunday. This is not a do or die affair. The President appoints and he does so not to deliberately disappoint anyone but to get his work done. It is that simple. Let’s live with it and make progress.”
Shortly after Gabby’s tweet, violence erupted in some areas. In Accra, for instance, some youth on Saturday, September 18, burnt tires to protest for Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Mohammed NiiAdjeiSowah, in anticipation of his replacement by President Akufo-Addo.
A group calling itself the Concerned Youth of Odododiodio, protested against the alleged removal of Accra Mayor, Mohammed AdjeiSowah.
This comes after a former deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, Elizabeth Sackey, was tipped to become the first woman Mayor of Accra.
In a video circulating on social media, scores of agitating men and women, clad in red head ties and hand bands were captured chanting and protesting against the NPP’s decision, saying they will no longer support the party, if Mohamed AdjeiSowah, is replaced.
“No Sowah, No NPP, No Sowah, No NPP, No Sowah, No NPP” the youth group chanted. They then moved ahead to sing a song as part of their protest against the imminent replacement of Mohammed NiiAdjeiSowah, as the Mayor of Accra.
A statement from the group had said “as a group, our interest is not to question or rundown the competencies of the other aspirants in this contest but it is proper to know who and what they are bringing to the table. We are not looking forward to an armchair Mayor or one that will only be a puppet and to succumb to the whims and caprices of some selfish party elders within Greater Accra Region”.
“We want a leader who will be at the beck and call for all manner of person irrespective of the party coloring,” it added.
The group further said, “As a true grassroots and a loyalist of the Danquah-Busia-Dombo tradition, Mohammed NiiAdjeiSowah delivered Greater Accra against all odds by winning 21 seats as
Regional Secretary in the 2016 elections. A portfolio he had held for two terms running. His appointment and having received a 100percent confirmation on 24th March, 2017, didn’t come as a fluke.”
“AdjeiSowah has always prioritized sanitation which has long been an issue in Accra, at the nexus of public safety, public health, the informal economy (which employs about 75 percent of Accra’s residents), and emissions contributing to climate change. He’s constantly emphasized inclusivity and equity which remains as his core work,” the statement read in part.
However, Mohammed NiiAdjeiSowah, called for calm and support for whoever the president nominates.
Aside from the National Security outfit and Gabby speaking on the matter, the Director of Communications of the NPP, Yaw BuabenAsamoa, also asked all Ghanaians to accept the final list of MMDCEs that will be released.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM with host DzifaBampoh on Saturday, September 18, the former lawmaker for Adentan, could not authenticate the list circulating in a section of the Ghanaian media but only said the final list will be released by the President.
“The list will be announced by Monday,” he said, adding that “accept the final list that will be announced.”
The Director of Communications at the Jubilee House, Eugene Arhin, had announced on his official Facebook page on Wednesday, September 15; “Expect the list to be announced by the Minister very soon”.
In July, the Chamber of Local Government (ChaLoG) accused President Akufo-Addo of employing “unnecessary” and “unproductive” processes in nominating MMDCEs.
“ChaLoG wishes to call on the President to urgently come to terms with the negative impact his actions and inactions which has led to the delay in nominating MMDCEs to be confirmed by the Hon Assembly Members, is having on the smooth administration of the MMDAs,” it said in a press release on Sunday, July 25.
The President had issued a directive through the Chief of Staff, FremaOseiOpare, for MMDCEs from his first term to continue acting in office. This issue was dragged to court by a Member of Parliament for South Dayi Constituency Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor. ChaLoG felt that the directive had hampered progress in the local assemblies.
“As a result of this directive, all the MMDAs across the country have not undertaken any new projects even though they continue to collect Property Rates, Business Operating Permits, Markets and Lorry Tolls from ratepayers, yet no capital projects are being undertaken by the Assemblies the only list which matters will be put out Sunday.
With the announcement made, President Akufo-Addo, will shut his ears to events in Ghana by busying himself, while in the US.
He had said that while in the US for the UN General Assembly, he will also hold bilateral engagements with some colleague Heads of State; NATO Secretary-General, Mr J. Stoltenberg; top Economist Jeffery Sachs; WTO Chief NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, as well as other world figures.
He will also hold engagements with sections of the Ghanaian and Business Community, whilst there.
The President will also participate in the Second Sustainable Development Goals Moment of the Decade of Action, and witness the Signing Ceremony between Minister for Tourism, Ibrahim Awal Mohammed, and Developers of the Dubois Project.
He will address the UN General Assembly on 22nd September; participate in the Global COVID-19 Summit hosted By President Joe Biden, and hold several rounds of engagements and UN events on climate change, health and food security.
On 23rd September, the President will attend a fundraising event for the National Cathedral.
In accordance with Article 60 (8) of the Constitution, the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. MahamuduBawumia, shall act in his stead until the President’s return on Monday 27th September 2021.