President Speaks On MMDCEs, Borders Remain Shut

President Akufo-Addo has broken his silence on the long-awaited release of the list of people to be appointed Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), indicating that the names will be released before the end of the month.

He has, however, indicated that there is no vacuum in local governance as had been perceived in that all districts are manned by MMDCEs and that government business is going on smoothly.

“The impression being given that there are no MMDCEs in the system is false. All the people who were MMDCEs in my first term are still at post,” he said, adding that “I have instructed the Chief of Staff to extend their tenure in acting capacity pending the appointment of substantive office holders so there is no vacuum in local governance.”

The President disclosed this during an interview on Takoradi-based Skyy Power FM as part of his two days tour of the Western Region.

He said “the last time we were in office we found ourselves making new appointments before the elections. I want to make sure of the people I am calling to help me. It is not an easy task. There is the need for a broader consultation, that is what I have done.”

According to the President, “committees were set up to make recommendations and I have to make sure that the recommendations would suit the political purposes of the government…by the end of September, everything would be resolved and the list would come out.”

Setting Up Committee

In May this year, President Akufo-Addo tasked the party to set up a committee to receive and vet applications for the position of MMDCEs across the country for consideration.

NPP General Secretary, John Boadu, who played a lead role in the exercise, said in July that members of the committee expected between 90 to 95 per cent of the shortlisted candidates to reflect the President’s preferences when he finally carries out the appointment.

“Though we have finished our work and the report is ready for submission to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, he has the final say in who becomes the MMDCE in every district, municipality or metropolis,” he stressed.

According to him, any alteration of the recommendations of the committee could come from the President’s assessment of the candidates, events and promises made to some party members during the NPP parliamentary primaries last year.

Border Closure

On the demand by some people for the government to reopen the country’s borders, the President made it clear that that demand cannot be granted at the moment and that the decision is in the best interest of the public.

He said human traffic at the land borders would continue to be restricted until experts managing the COVID-19 pandemic advise otherwise.

The President’s comment was in response to demand by some people who recently demonstrated against the continued closure of land borders in Ghana at Aflao and Elubu borders.

President Akufo-Addo noted that the reopening of the borders comes with a huge risk and associated challenges controlling human contacts.

He also said that replicating the testing mechanism implemented at the airports to the land borders comes with some serious challenges.

He explained that, unlike the Kotoka International Airport which has a more controlled environment for testing and validating results of PCR COVID-19 tests, the land borders present an entirely different situation that could hardly be managed.

“It’s difficult to validate the systems of testing at the land border as compared to what we have at Kotoka. At the land borders we have lots of people coming and going on a daily basis. When are we going to test them in time and get them in transit?” the President asked rhetorically.

He emphasised that the country has been able to contain the viral disease because of some stringent measures his government took, saying “until we are sure we have a strong control over this thing, we need to be careful about our contacts.”

He emphasised the need to ensure that a greater percentage of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19, and neighbouring countries assuring of doing same.

“We needed to implement some stronger control measures before any consideration could be taken for the reopening of the land borders to human traffic,” he pointed out.

He stressed that it is necessary and for the ultimate good of the people to have the land borders closed at the moment.

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