Apathy towards referendum disturbing – Kojo Asante

The Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)-Ghana, Dr Kojo Asante is hopeful the trend following a report that more than half of the citizenry are not aware of the referendum scheduled for December 17, 2019, will soon change.

Although he conceded that there had been apathy towards the referendum, he observed that interest of the citizenry would increase following education, sensitisation and awareness creation undertaken by National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) and the Electoral Commission.

“We can attest that, information has gone out since September this year to trickle down; there has not been enough education, sensitisation and awareness creation for us to touch base with the system. With information during parliamentary or presidential elections, within couple of weeks, we expect to have more even though it started quite late but we are still hopeful the citizenry will become aware,” Dr Asante assured.

A new Afrobarometer report has indicated that 60 per cent of the citizenry were not aware of the upcoming referendum on December 17, 2019 and that a significant proportion of them were either not likely to vote or ‘don’t know’ whether or not they will vote. Of the less than 42 per cent aware of the referendum, indications are men, highly educated and elderly citizens were aware than women, less educated, and young adults.

Two bills are seeking amendments to Articles 243(1) and 55(3) for election of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives and political parties participation in local elections, which allowed the president to appoint them with prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of assembly present and voting at the meeting.

Political parties are free to participate in shaping political will of the citizenry to disseminate information on political ideas, socioeconomic programmes of national character and sponsor candidates for elections to public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units.

The referendum has become necessary because Article 55 is an entrenched provision of the 1992 Constitution and can only be amended through a referendum. -citinewsroom.com

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