National Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, has accused President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of misleading Ghanaians by saying the December 17 referendum is to elect Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
The proposed amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution which will make local government elections partisan.
Samuel Ofosu Ampofo at a press conference said the President played on the emotions of Ghanaians when he said the referendum will elect MMDCEs.
“Government was deliberately misleading people into believing that the referendum is to elect MMDCEs, knowing that the election of MMDCEs is the peoples’ preference.
“No less a personality than President Akufo-Addo himself made this false claim last week. In fact, the NCCE [National Commission on Civic Education] should have called out the President for peddling misinformation and untruths,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo speaking at the 30th-anniversary celebration of the Akatsi District Assembly last Monday indicated that the District Assembly concept, introduced some 31 years ago, under the Rawlings era, is one of the most important contributions to the improvement of Ghana’s national governance.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the District Assembly concept “has led to the enhancement of participatory involvement of our people in their local government. Now, it is time to deepen the process that began 31 years ago, and entrust to the people full sovereignty over the election of the MMDCEs and members of the District Assemblies.”
Government has already presented the amendment of Article 243 (1) of the 1992 constitution which requires the President to appoint MMDCEs to Parliament.
The NDC says it supports the election of MMDCEs but the party does not support the proposed referendum to make the process partisan.
“Government may, therefore, place a Bill before Parliament setting out the modalities for the election for consideration. This is the primary interest of Ghanaians. The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018, has many ramifications for the smooth, effective and harmonious administration of the Metropolitan and District Assemblies.
“It has to be thought through very well. Unfortunately, the bill as it is now is fatally flawed and cannot form the basis for the referendum to amend Article 55 (3). It must be withdrawn. But if the government insists on making the Assemblies partisan, then a new bill must be drafted, re-gazetted and subjected to serious scrutiny by Ghanaians, unlike the surreptitious manner it has gone about the current Bill. It will also mean that the 6-month period required by the Constitution for the Bill to be gazette will begin to run anew,” Mr Ofosu Ampofo stated.