The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has urged voters to vote YES in the December 17, 2019, national referendum to enable political parties to sponsor candidates for local level elections.
At a press conference in Accra on Monday afternoon addressed by its General Secretary, John Boadu, the NPP said embracing the amendment to the constitution will bolster Ghana’s democracy.
“A YES vote will strengthen our multi-party democracy consistent with our constitution. A YES vote will strengthen our system of decentralisation by proving a coordinated and an organised political system. A YES vote ladies and gentlemen will provide a greater opportunity for citizens of voting age to participate in political activities intended to influence policies at the local government level. A YES vote will meet the constitutional mandate imposed on political parties to freely participate in shaping the political will of the people, especially at the local level.”
The referendum is to decide on a possible amendment of Article 55 (3) 1992 constitution to enable political parties to sponsor candidates for local level elections.
On the other side of the political divide, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is advocating for a NO vote.
The NDC expressed concern that the amendment will open district assemblies and unit committees to “the needless NDC-NPP polarisation.”
The NDC flagbearer, John Mahama backed his party’s position suggesting that an amendment of Article 243(1) of the constitution was more pressing.
“For instance, we have to repeal the part that says the President can appoint members of the District Assembly because if we say we are going to make them elected by political parties why will we go and vote as political parties and the President will still have the right to appoint 10 percent of the Assembly so all those things should be repealed so we can see our way clearly.”
Another major call for a NO vote has come from a section of the National House of Chiefs which argued that decentralisation would negatively be affected by the control of local parties.
The Paramount Chief of the Akyem Abuakwa traditional area and President of the Eastern Region House of Chiefs, Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II however urged Ghanaians to ignore calls for a NO vote in the national referendum.