The Information Services Department (ISD), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the media and other stakeholders have been charged to explain to the understanding of the citizenry, the need for the December 17, 2019, referendum.
Ghanaians, come December 17, would vote on whether metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives should be elected.
According to the Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, it has become very necessary for the citizenry to know why they had to take part in the referendum, which seeks to amend Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution that prohibits political parties’ involvement in local governance and vote “Yes” in favour of the amendment.
He said the citizenry should be made to understand the governance gap at the local government level that has necessitated the amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 constitution.
Dr Osae said the fact that, the citizens have been denied power to elect metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives but vice versa at the national level was clearly defeating democracy in the country.
He made this known at a day’s “Training of Trainers” workshop of Regional Information Officers (RIOs) across the country in Kumasi to equip them with the message for the campaign on the referendum and the district level elections.
Dr Osae insisted that, the public should be made aware and understand that, the election of MMDCEs was an electoral promise of the ruling New Patriotic Party, the main opposition party, National Democratic Congress and other political parties as they stated in their various manifestos, and that it was not a decision taken out of the blue.
Taking them through the four phases of activities to be held before the referendum, the referendum phase, post referendum and change management and capacity building phase, Dr Osae indicated that, electing MMDCEs would not only promote and deepen local democracy, but it would also make them more accountable and responsible to the people.
He also acknowledged that, electing MMDCEs would guarantee their security of tenure of office as they would have enough time to plan and complete developmental projects for their areas.
The acting Director of the ISD, Mr Charles Wereko, called for an elaborated, well co-ordinated and sustained campaign by all stakeholders, a campaign that would reach out to all Ghanaian voters in every corner of the country to come out in their numbers to vote for the motion.
Mr Wereko noted that, the campaign mandate was a daunting challenge considering that voter turn-out at such elections have been abysmally low around the average of 30 per cent of total registered voters.
He assured that, the ISD would leverage on its national footprint and reputation as the credible and authentic voice of government to ensure 70 per cent voter turnout for the referendum.
FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI