Archbishop laments over referendum not receiving deserving attention

Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale in the Northern Region, has expressed worry at the low public education, sensitisation and awareness on the impending referendum to amend Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to legitimise the full participation of political parties.

“The nationwide sensitisation education and awareness on the referendum will inform the electorate to make the proper decision on whether to allow political parties to participate in the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) even though the referendum is expected to take place on December 17, 2019, little is heard of it in public discourse,” he bemoaned.

Archbishop Naameh expressed his sentiments at the launch of the Regional/Diocesan sensitisation programme on the upcoming referendum and election of MMDCEs organised by the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), in Tamale.

It was on the theme; ‘Participation of Political Parties and Citizens in the District Level Elections’, and provided platform for stakeholders to discuss theme with view of raising public awareness and interest.

According to Archbishop Naameh, “There are no usual commentaries and debates with elections and politics as experienced in recent times. Despite our development infrastructure being based on effective, efficient mobilisation of local resources, participation of local people in governance is worrying with important national exercise not receiving level of participation needed for discussions among the citizenry.

“There is the need for increased awareness creation, sensitisation and education on the referendum by stakeholders and pledge support and assistance of the Catholic Church in deepening to enable full participation of the citizenry in the exercises to enhance accountability, probity, transparency, democracy and accelerate development,” he appealed.

Alhaji Abdul Saani, the Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), explained that the referendum was not for election of MMDCEs, but seeking inputs from the citizenry to amend article 55 (3) to allow district level elections to be conducted on partisan basis, referendum must record 40 per cent voter turnout and out of the number, 75 per cent must vote “Yes” to confirm proposal.

 Francis Asobayire, Assistant Northern Regional State Attorney, said local level elections had recorded low turnouts over the years and appealed to the citizenry to actively participate in the national exercise to achieve the 40 per cent turnout and 70 per cent “Yes” votes. -GNA

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