The Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Ms Josephine Nkrumah, has tasked staff of the Commission, particularly regional directors, to embark upon vigorous education on the upcoming district level elections and the referendum on the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) on December 17, 2019.
The Commissioner made the call during the regional launch of public sensitisation and awareness campaign on the district level elections and referendum for the amendment of article 55 (3) of Ghana’s Constitution held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region last Friday.
Ms Nkrumah who stated that over the years, district level elections had recorded low patronage with 35 per cent being the highest turn out to have ever recorded, called on stakeholders, including MMDCEs, religious and traditional leaders to assist the Commission to intensify the sensitisation drive to make the citizenry appreciate the significance of the December 17 referendum.
Ms Nkrumah stressed that the amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to participate in district level elections would lead to the promotion of true participatory democracy.
According to her, the process stood to empower the citizens to directly elect competent leaders to work for the development of communities which would lead to the improvement of the quality of services, promote good inclusive local governance, reduce poverty as well as deepen the decentralisation agenda of the country.
She, therefore, underscored the need for all the citizenry to fully participate in the upcoming district level elections as well as the referendum to help amend the entrenched provision that ban political parties from taking part in district level elections.
The referendum, which is scheduled to take place alongside the district level elections, therefore, seeks to amend article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched provision to allow political parties to participate in local governance elections, including the election of MMDCEs and assembly members along party lines.
“The referendum must garner at least 40 per cent voter turnout of the total registered voters in the country, and at least, 75 per cent of that number must vote ‘yes’ to the proposal,” Ms Nkrumah explained.
The Regional Director of the NCCE, Mr Pontius Pilate Baba Apaabey, said the Commission was undertaking the nationwide exercise in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Electoral Commission and the Information Services Department, and encouraged the youth to fully participate.
The Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Frank Adongo Fuseini, stated that election of MMDCEs by the electorate would eliminate the winner takes all syndrome and improve upon the quality of governance at the local level.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA