The “hypocrisy” of Ghana’s biggest opposition political party in connection with the upcoming 17 December 2019 referendum about whether political parties should be allowed to sponsor candidates for election at the local level, “must be exposed”, Danquah Institute founder Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has said.
At a press conference on Tuesday, 12 November 2019, the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, said: “At the meeting held last Thursday, the NEC of the NDC affirmed our long-held position that MMDCEs should be elected. We, however, took the view that the local government system should remain non-partisan and that individuals contest the District Assembly and Unit Committee elections on their own merit”.
“We, therefore, decided to campaign for a NO vote at the referendum and to urge all Ghanaians to vote NO at the referendum”, he announced.
According to him, “It is our well-considered view, and, indeed, that of well-meaning Ghanaians, that the needless NDC-NPP polarisation at the national level should not be extended into the District Assemblies and Unit Committees, which is what will happen if we vote to make the local government system partisan”.
The party added: “The consequence of exporting this polarisation into the District Assemblies is that, very soon in our villages, there will be ‘NDC Communal Labour day’ and ‘NPP Communal Labour day’. There will also be ‘NDC market’ and ‘NPP market’ and so on and so forth. We, of the NDC, believe that all our towns and villages should have one Communal Labour Day, and one market and we can only achieve this by voting NO”.
In response to the party’s position, Mr Otchere-Darko said: “The NDC is at it again: opposing for the sake of it. It says it is against the election of DCEs and Assemblymen on party lines. I think this hypocrisy must be exposed and condemned by all”.
“Please do your checks, from electoral area to electoral area, go and find the number of candidates both the NPP and NDC are sponsoring. Let’s stop this 27-year-old fiction! It rather hurts the quality of governance and sidesteps the doctrine of corporate responsibility when appointees and elected reps at the local level fail to deliver. It leaves the parties blameless, individualises the rot and kills any incentive for assemblymen to up their game, election after election.
“We need multiparty competition at the level it matters most (where governance is closest to the people) to force those who lead us there to up their game.
“You elect an assemblyman or -woman you know is a party organiser and yet the NDC is saying we cannot hold their party responsible if that person misbehaves!
“So long as we have party organisations at the constituency level and all the way down to the polling station, the argument that formalising partisan participation in local elections will deepen divisions is bogus and empty!
We should not downplay the harm that this winner-takes-all status quo is doing to our politics. It is that which rather deepens the us-and-them negative culture.
“One party wins general elections, it uses that as payback time and clears the whole executive slate and holders of contracts to manage public toilets, etc., across the board, from Accra to Paga. Nothing can be more divisive than this”, the President’s cousin said.