Private legal practitioner, Samson Anyenini, has said that President Nana Akufo-Addo tried to deceive Ghanaians about the details of the 2019 referendum.

Speaking as a panel of “We the People” on GTV, the renowned lawyer and an activist of the ‘NO’ campaign in the runup of the referendum last year explained that although President Akufo-Addo informed the public about an upcoming referendum, the details he provided were misleading.

“When I heard people like the President, who knows the law, talk to Ghanaians and say go to the polls on December 17 and vote in the referendum so that your DCE will be elected; that was false, that was not true because the vote on article 55 (3) was not to make a DCE elective and that is when I stepped in,” he explained.

President Akufo-Addo announced the withdrawal of the December 17, 2019 Referendum which sought to amend the law to enable Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and unit committee members to be elected along political party lines.

This the President explained was to allow time for further consultations with key stakeholders and the public in general.

According to Samson, Article 55 (3) of Ghana’s Constitution provided Members of the opportunity for local government officials to be elected but on a partisan basis but the President was not clear on that.

Mr Anyenini accused the President of misleading the public saying that although he made Ghanaians aware of an upcoming Referendum, he [the President] failed to add the fact that it was going to be on partisan basis.

“First it was disappointing to learn of the approach by the President because when the President made the announcement and said it was because of a lack of consensus I asked myself whether he was truly sincere about it,” he said.

He also revealed that the President lacked the support of his own party members to have a district assembly leadership elected along partisan lines, the reason he postponed the election.

“Now for as long as it was not going to be partisan, he didn’t have their support. So for him to succeed in his agenda he needed to do it and make it partisan that is how he got the support of some of his people, Samson said.

He stated that although he was not happy about the abortion of the referendum, it was better to have done it the right way.

”I really think we need to work around this architecture. In India, in Canada, they are doing it [electing district-level leadership] but it doesn’t need it to be partisan,” he said.

He, however, called for the inclusion of persons with disabilities and women in the 30% appointment slot allotted to the President by the Constitution stating that this will empower such groups.