By Albert Futukpor, GNA
Accra, June 19, GNA – A multi-stakeholders’ forum has been held to clarify issues surrounding the impending referendum on political parties’ participation in local governance elections to ensure that the public understand the issues to inform how they will vote.
It was also to ensure that the participants drawn from civil society organisations (CSOs), state institutions, political parties, and the media were also well-informed about the impending referendum to ensure that they would in turn, through their programming, better educate the public to vote wisely.
The forum was organised in Tamale on Tuesday by NORSAAC, a CSO, and its consortium members as part of their “Referendum we want project,” which is funded by STAR Ghana Foundation, to amongst others influence national level discourse and actions using evidence from the north.
It was on the theme: “The Review of Article 55: A Panacea or A Burden on the Winner-takes-all Practice in Ghana”.
Mr Kwesi Jonah, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Democratic Governance, who made a presentation on issues surrounding the impending referendum at the forum, explained that the proposal to allow political parties to participate in local governance elections would promote accountability, inclusive governance and improve service delivery.
The country will go for a referendum on December 10, this year, to consider a proposal to amend article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched clause, to allow political parties to participate in local governance elections in the country.
Article 243(1) of the 1992 Constitution, which is a non-entrenched clause, will also be amended by Parliament to allow for election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
If the citizenry approves the proposal through the referendum, then from the year 2021, MMDCEs will no longer be nominated by the President but rather be directly elected by the citizenry on political party lines.
Mr Jonah said electing MMDCEs on political party lines would ensure more development as it would lead to competition amongst the political parties at the local level to perform well to win the support of the people.
Representatives of National Democratic Congress, Convention People’s Party and People’s National Convention at the forum agreed to the election of MMDCEs but expressed varied views on the mode of selection of candidates for the elections, the financial consequences on the country and the political parties, and what benefits it would have for the country.
Alhaji Abdul Razak Saani, Northern Regional Director of National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), expressed need for the state to resource the NCCE to enable it to undertake public campaigns to educate the citizenry to understand the issues surrounding the impending referendum.
Mr Alhassan Mohammed Awal, Executive Director of NORSAAC, said similar forum would be held in the Upper East and Upper West Regions to explain the issues to various stakeholders to ensure that citizens were well-informed to know how to cast their votes during the referendum.