Samson’s Take: In defence of Article 55(3) – vote 'NO'

Samson Lardy Anyenini Vvv Samson Lardy Anyenini, Lawyer

Sun, 10 Nov 2019 Source: Samson Lardy Anyenini

I am not on a campaign. But I have no regrets if I am the first to provoke a “NO” campaign. I have been this clear to all well-meaning citizens home and abroad asking that I accept to lead a campaign. All I have done has been to correct an erroneous and misleading impression that a “YES” vote on December 17 is intended to and will make MMDCEs office elective. You only have to read the EC’s referendum question to discover it doesn’t.

It will only remove a prohibition that political parties cannot sponsor candidates for District Assembly and lower local government unit elections. Members of these two community-level governance units are already elected but political parties are forbidden from participating in the process. The makers of the Constitution moved from article 55(3) to explain in clauses 1 and 2 of article 248 that candidates at this level must present themselves as individuals to the electorate, not use any symbol associated with a political party, parties must not endorse, sponsor or offer their platforms for campaigns.

In fact, all these together with another article 243 will or must be amended by Parliament after December 17. It is actually the amendment of article 243 that will make the position of the Chief Executives of the district assemblies elective. So a “NO” vote does not change the decades-old demand for MMDCEs to be elected. A “NO” vote only means they will be elected but not on a partisan basis if article 243 is amended.

Unlike article 55(3) which is entrenched and requires a referendum, article 243 will be amended by majority decision in Parliament. Let’s enforce the prohibition instead of advocating an amendment to remove the prohibition with the regrettable excuse that political parties already violate the law. Political party MMDCEs will not be accountable to the communities. They, like MPs, will be divisive, self-serving, promote unproductive parochial party interest above true community development and the Ghana agenda.

They will spend money they don’t have on MMDCE primaries, and buy votes to win only to overprice contracts and steal to recoup and pay their debts. The party businessmen who sponsor their campaigns will get the contracts and do shoddy work. I have heard all the lofty promises partisan MMDCEs, partisan assembly members and partisan unit committee members – partisan governance structure at the community level will do about local development. I simply can’t believe what you say because I know and see what you do in fact.

Read the many other reasons why I advocate MMDCE elections that does not affect article 55(3). Lord, carve upon my heart the truth that sets me free.

Samson Lardy Anyenini

November 9, 2019

Columnist: Samson Lardy Anyenini