NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on Ghanaians to vote ‘No’ in the upcoming Referendum scheduled to take off December 17, 2019 to ensure that the local government system remained non-partisan.
Addressing a crowded press conference yesterday, the National Chairman of the party, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, outlined seven reasons why Ghanaians should vote No in the referendum, explaining that voting ‘Yes’ would politicise the local governance system against the entrenched clause Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
According to him, the notice put out by the Electoral Commission (EC), saying, among others, that “the referendum is to approve or reject the provision on whether Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) are to be voted or not,” was a palpable falsehood.
Last week Friday, he noted that the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the official state agency responsible for public education on the constitution, clarified the nature of the impending referendum by stating in an official press release as follows: “The NCCE has noted with concern misinformation in the media that the 17th December, 2019 referendum is to elect metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs).
The Commission wishes to clarify that the 2019 National Referendum is to enable citizens to vote on the proposed amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution that currently bars political parties from participating in District Level Elections (DLEs).
The proposed amendment is to introduce multi-party participation in the Local Government System in Ghana.”
The NCCE’s clarification has been the NDC position all along, that the government was deliberately misleading people into believing that the referendum is to elect MMDCEs, knowing that the election of MMDCEs is the people’s preference.
Mr Ampofo stated that no less a personality than President Akufo-Addo himself made this false claim last week.
In fact, the NDC national chairman maintained that the NCCE should have called out the President for peddling misinformation and untruths
At the meeting held last week Thursday, he pointed out that the NEC of the NDC affirmed our long held position that MMDCEs should be elected. We, however, took the view that the local government system should remain non-partisan and that individuals contest the District Assembly and Unit Committee elections on their own merit.
“We, therefore, decided to campaign for a NO vote at the referendum and to urge all Ghanaians to vote NO at the referendum.
“It is our well-considered view, and indeed that of well-meaning Ghanaians, that the needless NDC-NPP polarisation at the national level should not be extended into the District Assemblies and Unit Committees, which is what will happen if we vote to make the local government system partisan,’ he stressed.
He added that “The consequence of exporting this polarisation into the District Assemblies is that very soon in our villages, there will be “NDC Communal Labour day” and “NPP Communal Labour day”. There will also be “NDC market” and “NPP market” And so on and so forth. We of the NDC believe that all our towns and villages should have one communal Labour Day, and one market and we can only achieve this by voting NO.
“If you will recall, last week at Akatsi in the Volta Region, President Akufo-Addo stated that he was committed to sustaining former President Rawlings’ decentralisation legacy. That legacy is based on the non-partisan local government system. It is, therefore, imperative that we vote NO at the referendum in order to give effect to President Akufo-Addo’s commitment,” he stated.
Mr Ampofo, therefore, called on Ghanaians to turn up in their numbers on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, to reject the proposal to amend Article 55(3) by voting NO to keep Ghana’s local government system non-partisan for a total and holistic development in the various MMDAs devoid of partisan politics.
He stressed that Ghana was not ready for the introduction of fully blown partisan politics at the local government level, adding that, a Yes vote would have dire consequences including; increase in corruption.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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