Ghanaians have been urged not to abandon the December 17 Referendum and
District Level Elections (DLEs) but go all out to exercise their franchise to make the process a success.
Mr Abubakar Boniface Saddiqque, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, noted that the December 17 Referendum and DLEs were going to deepen the country’s democracy by giving the electorate the opportunity to vote for candidates of their choice at the grassroots.
Mr Saddique was speaking at a Town Hall Meeting, organised by the La Nkwantanang-Madina Municipal Assembly (LaNMMA), on Thursday.
It was to create awareness and clarify issues on the impending elections and referendum as well as counteract the misconceptions surrounding it.
The meeting was also meant to whip up enthusiasm of the people within the Municipality to go out and vote.
It brought together leaders from the Zongo Community, officials from the Electoral Commission, National Commission on Civic Education, past assembly members, Drivers Unions, the Madina Market Women Association and some Civil Society Organisations.
Mr Saddique noted that Ghana currently had about 35,000 assembly members who were working to enhance the development of the nation hence the need to vote for people credible enough to ensure effective development.
If people were elected at the district level, they had better chances for being elected as MPs because “your record would speak for you if you seek re-election for an MP position,” he said.
He debunked rumours that if electorates voted YES, chiefs who had representation in the assemblies would be done away with.
Mr Saddique said if the electorate voted YES during the referendum, the hypocrisy associated with the District Level Elections would be eradicated noting that in the past parties hid behind candidates and sponsored them to the assembly.
Mrs Jennifer Dede Afagbedzi, the Municipal Chief Executive, said the meeting was to help the people to make informed choices to further the decentralisation and the country’s democratic process.
She noted that the conduct of the DLEs was not a new development but the addition of the referendum and the varied viewpoints expressed had necessitated the Town Hall meeting to sensitise the people on the issues.
She said the current mode of appointing municipal, metropolitan and district chief executives (MMDCEs) had been identified as a governance gap in the local governance system.
The MCE recalled that a research by the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) in 2015 and the CDD’s 2017 Afrobarometer Report highlighted the popular call for election of MMDCEs.
“In 2019, a survey conducted among 225 participants at the New Year School at the University of Ghana indicated that 88 per cent favour the election of MMDCEs on partisan basis.”
She said to bridge the yawning gap in the governance system, the New Patriotic Party, National Democratic Congress, and the Progressive Peoples Party pledged to facilitate the elections of MMDCEs if they won power.
Mrs Afagbedzi appealed to the people to intensify voter education and prevail on their MPs to approve the Bill on the amendment of the entrenched articles in Parliament.
She asked the public to do the needful by turning up in their numbers to vote ‘YES’ and for candidates of their choice to eradicate the Winner Takes All concept.
Ms Ophelia Ankrah, the NCCE Municipal Director, advised against fomenting trouble at the polling stations and urged people to stay off alcohol.
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