President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reminded Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) that it is not for the sake of their comfort and convenience that they were appointed to head our local government agencies.
That reminder comes in the wake of an ambitious programme to digitise the economy and thereby transform the entire development architecture of the nation.
As they may have been made aware, they have an obligation to the state and citizens to be everywhere on the ground in spearheading our development agenda, in respect of agriculture, tourism, security, trade, revenue mobilisation, sanitation, environmental protection and food safety, among other mandates.
That multi-task mandate is the reason behind our local government agencies or MMDCEs’ statutorily husbanding desks on agriculture, sanitation, trade revenue mobilisation, among others, in enabling citizens have a feel of government on the ground in terms of peace and stability and improved lives and livelihoods.
As the MMDCEs themselves would admit and appreciate, that mandate is holistically expressed and executed when they have the support and cooperation of traditional authorities and religious communities at the grassroots.
Little wonder that development agencies, including NGOs, have made it a policy to involve these grassroots clusters in designing local initiatives in the execution and monitoring our development efforts.
To be naturally effective as a leader, the MMDCEs must necessarily connect with these constituencies in carrying out their mandates as envoys of the Executive.
Unfortunately, 2020 exposed quite a chunk of these MMDCEs for lack of touch with the grounds, resulting in political shocks like the galamsey scourge which the government is being compelled to live with.
In previous times, it was the saga of MPs and party chairmen fighting each other or MPs and MMDCEs fighting for turf.
As we would further admit, that also created political shockwaves, resulting in loss of seats to the governing party. Incidentally, because the party chieftains and some members of the Council of Elders take sides in such family feuds, dousing the flames takes time, until the worst happens.
As the NPP faces another major hurdle of putting the party in robust stead for 2024, it becomes imperative that the MMDCEs strive to put the government and party first in attaining national goals.
Over 95 per cent of the electorate feel government and the impact of its works in their communities, markets, hospitals, schools and farms – all of these outside urban Kumasi or Accra, Tema, Takoradi or Tamale.
That is why the MMDCEs must heed the President’s counsel and connect with all the constituencies that matter on the ground, including traditional leaders, the clergy, youth groups, the party, among others, not only in designing programmes but also in promoting the good works of the Akufo-Addo administration.
While it may be true that party communicators and the media seem to have hijacked all the space for communication across the country, we believe there are other means by which MMDCEs can reach out in their respective jurisdictions, including using information vans and durbars, to send appropriate and relevant messages to the grassroots.
At this point, any MMDCE contemplating to live good on the moon, instead of getting into the trenches in communities to showcase government good works, must be sincere enough to decline re-appointment from the President, if that gesture is extended.