Dr Charles Wereko-Brobbey, an Engineer has joined calls for the government to postpone the December 17, 2019 referendum due to lack of consensus on the attempt to amend Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution If not it will be an exercise in futility.
The proposed amendment sought to repeal the provision in the constitution which bars political parties from participating in district level and lower government unit elections.
Dr Wereko-Brobbey said there had been miscommunication about purpose of the referendum, leading to mistrust among political leaders, without consensus, it would be impossible for the referendum to get the required 75 per cent endorsement by at least 40 per cent of registered voters to pass.
“The government must hold on with the referendum and engage stakeholders more on needed reforms at local government level after consensus reached will be put to referendum,” he stressed.
All indications pointed to smooth amendment of Article 55 (3) until the National Democratic Congress (NDC) accused the government of deliberate misinformation on purpose of referendum and maintained that the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration had led the citizenry to believe the referendum was about whether or not Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) should be elected but the government, however, denied misleading the citizenry, two issues not mutually exclusive.
Campaigners against the amendment of Article 55 (3) support Parliament’s amendment of constitution to allow MMDCEs election but political parties should not be allowed to partake.
Professor Kwaku Asare, a lawyer, indicated that maintaining non-partisan nature of assemblies would foster better collaboration and consensus building which would be absent if political party representatives got involved.
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), also backed the brief hold on referendum for further engagement to be done and maintained that three-month hold on the citizenry vote would give enough time to sort out uncertainties and trust issues surrounding the vote.
However, Dr Bossman Asare, the Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission, has stated that the Commission would not entertain referendum in 2020 saying “it won’t work with our schedule, a postponement will even lead to financial costs since resources have been expended on the exercise.” -myjoyonline.com