Campaign against amendment of Article 55 (3) is setback – IDEG

Kwesi Jonah, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), has lamented that the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) latest campaign against the proposed amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution which will make local government elections partisan can negatively affect the referendum.

“The NDC’s latest stance is a “big los”. I am surprised it is suddenly campaigning against the referendum when it earlier expressed willingness to engage with various stakeholders on the referendum.

“The Institute for Democratic Governance as well as Centre for Democratic Development have been working hard to build consensus between New Patriotic Party (NPP) and NDC in Parliament on the issue.

“We have been working around the clock to ensure two sides are at same level as far as amendment of Article 243 (1) of the constitution which will enable the citizenry to elect Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) on universal adult suffrage and also Article 55 (3) will enable political parties to participate in processes in district level elections,” Mr Jonah bemoaned.

The NDC had argued there will be party-motivated projects and programmes such as ‘NDC Communal Labour Day’ and ‘NPP Communal Labour Day’, particularly in rural areas if district assembly elections are made partisan, a yes vote, will open district assemblies and unit committees to “needless NPP-NDC polarization” and asked the citizenry to vote against the proposal.

According to Mr Jonah, “we have been working hard, this is a setback for us, and we have always believed two parties in parliament need to work closely. Decision taken by NDC to campaign for no vote is not helpful due to inadequate consultation.

“We realised when parliament tried to amend Article 243 (1), we thought there was no prior agreement to build consensus and we came in, two parties met and it seemed we had almost sealed an agreement. The statement from NDC is certainly a big loss.

“I was also pessimistic the government will give up on efforts to conduct referendum despite NDC’s latest stance, I do not think it will stop the referendum because of another party. We need to go ahead and convince the citizenry to vote for it,” Mr Jonah insisted. -citinewsroom.com

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