The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Kumbungu is backing the ‘YES’ campaign in the December 17 Referendum, defying the direct orders of the party.
Ras Mubarak says the arguments against the amendment of Article 55/3 of the Constitution are weak and unacceptable.
The amendment seeks to repeal the provision in the Constitution that bars political parties from elections at District Assemblies and lower government unit.
The NDC says amid other concerns, introducing partisan politics to the assemblies would bring the unpleasantness of national politics to the assemblies.
Any previous stance taken by a party member is overruled, the Director of Elections for the NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, told Joy FM on Monday.
However, the Kumbungu MP who recently lost the bid to run for re-election on the party’s ticket has refused to fold.
Mubarak was defeated by Dr Hamza Adam, a lecturer at the University of Development Studies (UDS) in an election he said was influenced by money.
Meanwhile, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu has warned of sanctions for MPs who do not fall in line with the party’s position.
“I understand some members of Parliament [in the Minority] are not holding the line and they would be dealt with in accordance with party discipline,” he said.
The NDC says its decision to oppose the amendment stems from thorough deliberations and consultations led by local government expert, Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi.
The Election of MMDCEs
The decision to hold the Referendum amend the Article 55/3 which is an entrenched provision came up in the process of amending Article 243/1 in Parliament.
The latter would allow Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to be elected in Universal Adult Suffrage, taking away the appointing power of the President.
However, to allow political parties field candidates when this happens, Ghanaians are being asked to change the law that bars partisan politics at that level.
Not less than 40 per cent of eligible voters must turn vote and 75 per cent must endorse the amendment for it to pass.
The NDC says they have fundamental issues with the bill which concerning MMDCE elections and until the bill is withdrawn and amended, the government can forget about getting their votes to pass the bill.
The governing NPP is 14 votes short of getting the two-thirds majority to pass Article 243/1 to allow the election of MMDCEs so to fulfil that campaign promise, they would be forced to kowtow to the demands of the NDC.
However, General Secretary of the party, John Boadu says they have come too far in the day to give in to the NDC’s demands.
What concerns do the NDC have?
The NDC says the bill which seeks to get MMDCEs elected is incomplete because it does not include other articles like the President’s power to fire an MMDCE.
They say passing the bill in its current state would make no sense since the President can still fire an elected MMDCE.
All those Articles must be amended as well, Mr Haruna Iddrisu argues.
The NDC is also concerned about the security of the President in a District whose Security Council is headed by a Chief Executive of an opposition party.
“Who would be in charge of security then,” the party quizzed.
Experts, meanwhile, remain divided on the fundamental question on whether to allow political party participation at the local government level or not.