The Sekondi-Takoradi Catholic Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission in the Western Region has launched a sensitisation programme on the upcoming referendum and the district assembly elections in Takoradi.
The objective was to explain democracy which was central to effective governance as it offered the opportunity for the determination of how governance of the people was to be effected.
Launching the sensitisation programme, the delegate of the Apostolic Administrator of the diocese, Monseigneur Francis Abuah- Quansah, called for more sensitisation, especially at the grassroot levels to allow the people to understand the concept in order to vote rightly.
He said the doors of the Catholic Church were open to explain any part not well understood, because it was the good understanding which would allow them to adequately prepare for their future.
A Commissioner of the Justice and Peace Commission, Lawyer Baffour Dwumo, who took participants through parts of the 1992 Constitution said, if the referendum was well handled it would allow transparency, accountability and fairness to prevail in the whole country.
He said 40 per cent of voters were needed to be present and also 75 per cent of registered voters voting in favour of the referendum before the law could be amended to allow political parties to participant in district assembly elections.
He said political acrimony had characterized the scene such that any successful candidate after spending so much money in canvassing for votes might like to recoup all that he wasted, adding “the best candidate may not be chosen in some instances because of these mouth-watering gifts which the best candidate may not be able to afford.”
The Director at the National Catholic Secretariat of the Governance, Justice and Peace Directorate, Rev Fr. Clement Kwasi Adjei, said the Catholic Church was concerned with the development of man.
He said the church was not only interested in the spiritual gains of man, but his physical development was very important.
Rev Fr Adjei said governance was about development and any bad governance would bring adverse issues to man, and this might lead to conflict, war and other instability which would retard the development of the communities in conflict and the nation at large.
An official of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Rex Johnfiah, noted that the NCCE make themselves available only during campaign and voting times, stressing that the NCCE should be seen to be working always and explaining government programmes to the people.
The Western Regional Secretary of the National Democratic Congress, Mr Joe Nelson said the election of MMDCEs was a brilliant idea, but it should not be funded by the political parties.
He observed that there were some Ghanaians who would not like to join any party, but could be very good leaders to head the districts, adding “people can serve Mother Ghana without belonging to any political party.”
The Paramount Chief of the Lower Axim, Awulae Attibrukusu III, said the concept had not been explained well enough, and therefore, many do not understand the referendum.
The chairman for the occasion, the Western Regional Acting Director of NCCE, Mr Justice Annim, said matters concerning governance were very important to all Ghanaians and everybody must take active part in the impending referendum to come out with a credible result concerning the governance system.
FROM PETER GBAMBILA, TAKORADI