Group demand cancellation of referendum

A group calling itself Crusaders against Corruption Ghana (CCG) has demanded the cancellation of the upcoming referendum about whether or not local government elections should be politicised.

It noted that “it is a non-beneficial venture, a total waste of the taxpayers’ money, against the proposed amendment of Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution and the referendum is in no way related to the country having an election at the district level and local government units.”

The group demanded in a statement signed and issued by Emmanuel Wilson Jnr., chief crusader and alleged that $6 million dollars from the taxpayer was invested in the work of the Constitution Review Commission from the period of January 2010 to December 2011, and wondered if there was the need for the proposed referendum.

“Thorough and extensive consultation with the citizenry on question of partisan local government, as a result of corruption in body politic, partisan politics in local elections may result in erosion of assistance and support for local assemblies where local elections are held on partisan basis, nomination rules determined and deployed by political parties can serve as impediments to accountability and transparency.

“It also weakens local government systems in jurisdictions where political parties play roles in elections at local level, without clear rules that stipulate inclusion of certain disadvantaged or minority segments of society, system may easily engender dominance by majority groups, more powerful social groups and persons who have enough money to spread around for purpose of attracting votes,” the statement said. 

It said the committee of experts which drafted the proposals for the1992 Constitution indicated that the nonpartisan nature of district assemblies had the potential to facilitate the mobilisation of the citizenry at local level, conducive to consensus formation, factors crucial to growth and development efforts at grassroots level.

Acknowledging observations made by the Constitutional Review Commission, coupled with the nation already spent from public purse to engage the citizenry on referendum, the statement associated with empirical facts after 62 years of independence had realised detrimental effects of party politics.

“We need not make it worse by expanding the activities of political parties into local governance structure, as a nation, we must be building an effective and efficient public administration system in metropolitan municipal and district for betterment of the citizenry, not just engaging in divisive partisan politics,” it said.

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