Ranking Member on the Constitutional Legal Affairs Committee in Parliament, Inusah Fuseini has described the cancellation of the December 17 referendum by President Akuffo Addo as a violation of Ghanaians rights.
Speaking to PM Express’ host Evans Mensah on Monday, the legislator said the President does not have the power to just halt a scheduled referendum.
It is “a direct and violent assault on the rights of the people of this country. The right of the President to answer the question [YES or NO as asked in the Referendum] is the same as the right of MP to answer the question, so it is the same as the man at ‘trotro’ station with a vote to answer the question.
“So the President cannot arrogate to himself to answer the question,” he explained.
A Referendum was to be held on December 17, 2019, to enable citizens to decide if an entrenched clause in the 1992 Constitution Article 55(3) needs to be amended to permit political parties in Ghana to participate in local government election.
But President Akufo-Addo in a televised address to the nation Sunday night aborted processes and ordered the Local Government Ministry to officially withdraw it on the floor of Parliament.
The Member of Parliament for Tamale Central further indicated that the referendum, however, did not adequately deal with the issue of citizens electing their own Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
According to him, Article 55(3) prevented parties from sponsoring MMDCEs whereas, Article 248(2) prohibits individuals from campaigning on political colours, so if the referendum was held, only one aspect of the entrenched clauses will be amended.
“Why didn’t government add 248(2), 243(1), and 243(3)? Why was government cherry-picking?” he quizzed.
Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Josephine Nkrumah who was also on the show lamented the abortion of the Referendum.
She was of the view that Ghanaians have missed a “golden opportunity” to restructure governance at the local level.
“It was a good opportunity for us Ghanaians in terms of Local governance reforms, and in terms of whereas a collective people want local governance to go,” she said.
“And we do not know if we are ever going to get such opportunity back,” she added.
Madam Nkrumah also indicated that the referendum although cancelled, has enlightened numerous people on the importance of local governance added that the aborted referendum has enlightened Ghanaians.
“And so, to that extent, I am hoping that we can sustain that conversation and continue to garner that interest of Ghanaians and local governance.”
Madam Nkrumah also revealed that the Local Government Ministry gave the Commission GH¢1 million to run all the necessary sensitization programmes.
“Now we will withdraw the adverts and we are looking at editing them because we do not have the resources to go back to the drawing board,” she stated.
She, however, assured citizens that the Commission will still pursue their mandate on sensitizing electorates to turn up on December 17 to vote for their assembly members and their unit committee members.