Can December 17 Referendum be withdrawn? Kwasi Prempeh, Kwaku Azar clash

Can December 17 Referendum be withdrawn? Kwasi Prempeh, Kwaku Azar clash
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com
Date: 01-12-2019 Time: 07:12:58:am

Two experts in Ghana’s Constitutional affairs are in sharp contrast with each other over whether or not the government can withdraw the December 17 Referendum.

With the seeming defeat that awaits the question of whether to allow political party participation at the local government level, scores of persons have called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to either withdraw the referendum or postpone it and engage the opposition NDC which has been busily campaigning against it.

However, other commentators have challenged the assertion that the President can withdraw the amendment Bill.

In a post on Facebook, renowned lawyer and professor, Kwaku Asare, who has been campaigning against the amendment said the matter is for the Supreme Court to decide.

However, in his view, Kwaku Azar, as he is popularly called said the December 17 referendum has gone beyond the point of no return.

“Put differently, the die is cast, once the bill (konkotiba) matures into a constitutional instrument (aponkyerene)! Not only must the referendum be held, its outcome is binding, in contradistinction to ordinary bills that can be withdrawn even after passage but before presidential assent,” he wrote.

However, Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Prof. Henry Kwasi Prempeh said the Referendum can be withdrawn by the President.

He argued the amendment bill is like any other bill introduced by the President and therefore, can be withdrawn by him.

“This is not an election, which we are constitutionally bound to schedule and have. The remedy, if anyone is aggrieved by the withdrawal of a referendum bill, is a political, not a judicial one,” Prof. Prempeh challenged.

For the amendment to pass, at least, 40 per cent of the electorate must cast their ballot with no less than 75 per cent endorsing the motion.

Follow the debate below as other experts join