President Nana Akufo-Addo’s claim at the time of withdrawing the Referendum on partisan participation in local government has been disputed by a University of Ghana survey.

The poll, conducted by the Political Science Department, revealed that 61 percent of Ghanaians do not want political parties sponsoring or fielding candidates for local government elections.

The sample size, 27,500.

These findings, presented on Tuesday, defeat President Akufo-Addo’s statement that the government could have rallied the 75 of a 40 percent voter turnout needed to amend Article 55/3 of the Constitution, which bars political parties from the local government structure.

The department, however, noted that the survey was carried out two days after Akufo-Addo announced a withdrawal of the referendum bill for “lack of consensus and a U-turn from the National Democratic Congress (NDC).”

The biggest opposition party had earlier supported the amendment but late into preparations for the D-day, beat a retreat.

The NDC said upon consultations and on the advice of its committee of experts on local government, it could no longer support the participation of political parties in local government.

Majority of Ghanaians don't want partisan participation in local government - UG survey reveals

The party’s National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo called on supporters to vote ‘NO.’

After weeks of uncertainty and a charged political atmosphere, President Akufo-Addo, in a live TV broadcast, withdrew the referendum “with a heavy heart.”

He also announced the withdrawal of the bill to cede the appointment of Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to the electorate.

Had the referendum passed, MMDCE aspirants could contest on partisan lines, but after government plan to do that faced opposition, both were tanked.

This drew widespread condemnation from critics who said the people supported the election of MMDCEs, only that it should not be done along political party lines.

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