Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Law School, Justice Srem-Sai, the country makes changes to existing political structure, before it considers allowing political parties to participate in local elections.
Speaking Saturday on Newsfile on JoyNews channel on Multi TV, he stated that “there is nothing wrong with being in a political party, neither is it wrong to be apolitical. What is wrong is the kind of politics we are practising, where people are losing jobs based on political lines, where businesses are collapsing based on political lines and where we are sharing national resources based on political lines.”
According to him, that cannot be said to be an inherent character of politics hence, party system with that sort of politics should not be introduced in the local government.
“Unless we correct our kind of politics we are practising, there should be a program to check the system before we bring those politics down to the local government level,” Mr Srem-Sai added.
His arguments come after a debate on why Ghanaians should vote YES or NO in the December 17 referendum. The upcoming referendum seeks to amend article 55 (3) to enable political parties to take part in District Level Elections.
Article 55 (3) states that “subject to the provisions of this article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character and sponsor candidates for elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units.’’
The referendum has become necessary because Article 55 is an entrenched provision of the Constitution and therefore can only be amended through a referendum.
Although some people are campaigning for a yes vote, Mr Srem-Sai told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of the show, that the introduction of the political system in the local government would bind local assemblies and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to a party direction, good or bad.
He explained that the absence of political party participation in the local government level gives local assemblies the opportunity to make decisions or start initiatives that favour the community and not necessarily be forced to toe the party line.
“Once you contest the local government elections on the party system, you cannot be that kind of person because you are within a party system. It’s not because the person doesn’t have a conscience but it is because the system of the political party binds them to a certain direction,” he added.
Mr Srem-Sai dismissed arguments that because some assembly members are affiliated to a political party means that the local government system is already political.
He said, “that is exactly what we don’t want down there, if you are down there you can have a party but no system is binding you to a particular direction.”