Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has asked both the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and largest opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to tone down and reach a consensus on the upcoming referendum in December.
He recalled that all parties have agreed since 1992 that MMDCE’s should be elected, as such no single political party can claim ownership of the process.
“I haven’t heard anyone say that it is a bad idea.”
“Even in their own manifesto, it is not in that Assembly members and Unit committee members should be voted on a partisan basis,” he added.
According to him, we don’t have to politicize everything but do everything in the interest of the nation.
“We don’t achieve national consensus by making this a purely partisan issue, and so pull the breaks, let’s assume that everybody has good intentions . . . how do we achieve consensus with this attitude,” he stated.
He said that clarity is needed on the referendum to enable everyone to understand the modus operandi of the government.
“We have to come to an agreement and go and vote,” he told Nana Yaw Kesseh on Peace FM’s ‘kokrokoo’ programme.
Members of the National House of Chiefs are also divided over their position on the exercise. While the President of the House of Chiefs says they support a ‘No' vote, some key members of the body have openly broken ranks with their leader.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and some civil society groups in the country are backing a ‘no vote’ claiming allowing political parties in local polls will further divide the country.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) on the other hand is for a YES vote arguing it will strengthen Ghana’s democracy.
The referendum, when accepted by Ghana, will seek to amend Article 55 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, where Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) will be elected based on partisanship.
Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched provision, 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 election to any public office other than the district assemblies or lower local government units”.
Ghanaians will go to the polls on December 17 to decide whether the local government elections should be partisan or not.