Let’s use referendum to deal with challenges confronting governance system —Affail Monney

The president of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA), Roland Affail Monney has called on Ghanaians to seize the opportunity presented by the December 17 referendum to reform the challenges confronting our governance system.

According to him, the proposed multiparty local governance system that the referendum seeks to introduce would not only lead to improved democratic culture but would contribute immensely to reshape the path of local economic development and transformation.

“We have the opportunity to either deny ourselves as a nation or seize the moment to reform the challenges that confront a system of governance we have practiced for three decades,” he emphasised.

Mr Monney made the call during a public conversation on the intended referendum organised by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) in Accra on Wednesday.

Dubbed Public Conversation on “Reforms, benefits, costs and participation: MMDCs Elections and the December 17, 2019 National Referendum”, the event was attended by diverse stakeholders in local governance.

 According to him, the country would celebrate December 17 with pride if we are able to meet the constitutional requirement of 40 per cent registered voters participating in the referendum and a “Yes vote” to meet the threshold of 75 per cent.

“We understand the sentiments of some groupings and individuals who may appear panic-stricken with the proposed amendment of article 55 Clause 3 of the 1992 Constitution,” he said.

 However, he said there was no need for such fears to be entertained as there was enough evidence to prove that countries that had toed that line were doing well with the system.

 “On the balance sheet, some of us are confident that looking at the examples of other countries that have toed the line of multiparty local governance reforms, the positives in terms of margins of development; positioning political parties to be more decisive in aggregating and articulating community needs for policymaking; local economic development; national cohesion; civic-media participation; and accountability far outweigh the weaknesses,” he said.

He therefore called on the media to support the process to ensure that the “Yes” vote was attained on the day.

“I urge the various media houses: online, offline and the print media to consciously marry their commercial and social interests to help us hold onto the fire we have lighted today, by carrying out more structured discussions and public education on the need for a “Yes Vote” at the referendum on December 17,” he added.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah said to demonstrate government’s commitment to the process, the momentum for the agenda had been quickened.

He said a nationwide campaign on the referendum was on Monday launched to sensitise the public on the importance and the need on why political parties must participate in the elections of the MMDCES.

Mr Amoah said it was important that the task ahead was not underestimated, stressing that “If we miss this opportunity, it may take us a very long time to have it again.”

By Cliff Ekuful

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