Let’s understand processes of referendum – Cyril Fayose

The General Secretary of the Christian Council, Reverend Dr Cyril Fayose, has appealed for the postponement of the December 17, 2019, referendum to make way for more engagement with the citizenry to understand the issues better.

“Currently, it seems many of the citizenry do not understand issues well and might affect the gains of the referendum should the country go ahead with it in December. We need more education, sensitisation and awareness on what Article 55(3) is about and what the consequential amendment we will need to make”, he stressed.

“I think there are some really good things in amendment as far as I am concern and should be considered. Article 55 (3) basically is amendment that will trigger resource in local governance, we have done democratic experiment over the last 25 years, we need to take it to the next level, I believe if we understand processes of 55 (3) and its consequential effect well, it will take our democracy to higher level.  

“For me it is an important national exercise, we shouldn’t rush with it but must do it well, even if National House of Chiefs is divided and confused about what is going on, then I think we need more time to think through carefully and build consensus.

“I call on the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, National Commission for Civic Education, Electoral Commission and other civil society groups to intensify education, sensitisation on referendum among the citizenry, also call on church leaders to understand processes for their members to massively vote in the referendum based on an informed position,” Rev. Dr Fayose said.

Article 55 (3) states that: “…Subject to the provisions of this Article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units”.

That article has been explained to be an entrenched provision, which could only be amended through a referendum, which per Article 290(4) could be approved when at least 40 per cent of persons entitled to vote, at the referendum and at least 75 per cent of the votes cast should be in favour of passing the bill. -GNA

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