December 17, referendum is not for election of MMDCEs

There appears to be some confusion over the impending referendum to be held on December 17, 2019, which must be corrected if the nation is to go through the exercise smoothly.

For some unexplained reasons, there is the misconception in the public domain that the impending exercise is about the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

Indeed, a section of the public erroneously believes that the election is about MMDCEs and spreading the same message all over the place.

It must be emphasised that the referendum is an exercise that the nation is going through to answer the “Yes” or “No” question as to whether the law should be changed to enable MMDCEs to be elected on partisan lines or not.

It is therefore after the December 17 referendum, that the country would know which direction to go.

It is for the purpose of correcting the misinformation that the Ghanaian Times decided to use today’s editorial to engage our readers because the media is being accused of misinforming the public about the upcoming referendum.

Although no media organisation was mentioned, Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in a statement, said some media organisations are churning out wrong information that the upcoming referendum was for the election of MMDCEs, which is not the case.

She was quoted as saying “we are not going to elect MMDCEs. That is not the purpose of the referendum.

It is important to emphasise that the electorates are going to answer “Yes” or “No” by thumb printing on yellow for “Yes” or brown for “No” provided on a ballot paper on the day of the referendum which also coincides with the election of assembly and unit committee members.

As already pointed out, the NCCE chairperson did not mention media organisation who were misinforming the public, but we would advise the media to perform it civic duty by educating the public accurately.

We all owe it a duty to the country to ensure that the public is adequately informed about the impending referendum to enable the citizenry make an informed decision. In fact, it would be dereliction of duty not to do so.

In doing so, however, it is the duty of the Electoral Commission as well as the NCCE, to engage the media more vigorously in order to provide them with adequate information for dissemination to the public.

It must be noted that the media does not exist only to provide the platform for public debate and dialogue, it also exist to create awareness and play crucial role in the outcomes of the events such as elections.

The nation cannot do without them because the media enables citizens to have access to information and can build well-informed citizens that are empowered to shape their own development and destiny.

For the media to perform its duties adequately, it must be armed with adequate information to truthfully inform the public to ensure the success of the December 17 referendum.

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