Kwesi Jonah: Referendum not to decide on election of MMDCEs

A Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Kwesi Jonah, has stated that the impending December referendum is not intended to decide whether or not Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) should be elected.

Instead, it would be a referendum to ensure the amendment of article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to participate in local governance election and the citizenry understand issues to inform how they would vote.

Mr Jonah made the clarification at a multi-stakeholders forum on misconceptions surrounding impending referendum on political parties’ participation in local governance elections.

The forum was organised by RISE Ghana, a civil society organisation (CSO), in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, and facilitated by NORSAAC, an advocacy CSO, in collaboration with IDEG with funding from STAR-Ghana Foundation, and formed part of a project titled: ‘The Referendum we want project’.

The programme, which was intended to sensitise stakeholders to be well informed about the upcoming referendum to enable them replicate the knowledge and understanding to the citizenry through endeavours to ensure they turn out to vote, was held on the theme: ‘The Review of Article 55- A Panacea or a Burden on the Winner-takes-All Practice in Ghana.’

Mr Jonah observed that most citizens were not well informed on the right issues surrounding the impending referendum which was to allow them decide whether or not they wanted political parties to participate in the election of MMDCEs. This is contrary to their perception, which is to decide whether or not MMDCEs should be elected. 

Hafsatu Sumani, Head of Programme and Policy at NORSAAC, underscored the need for stakeholders to be interested and concerned about local governance referendum.

On December 10, 2019, Ghanaians will vote in a referendum to decide on a proposal to amend Article 55(3) of 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched provision, to allow political parties participate in local governance election, while Parliament amends Article 243(1), which is not entrenched to allow MMDCEs to be elected by the electorate.

Currently, the President nominates MMDCEs and subsequent approval by their respective assembly members, however, if the proposal is approved during the referendum, MMDCEs will directly be elected by the electorate on political party basis and not nominated by the president anymore.

For this to happen, the referendum must record at least 40 per cent voter turnout of total registered voters and 75 per cent voting, to affirm the proposal.

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