I read the news report in which Prof. Henry Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive-Director of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), was alleged to have said that the leaders of the National House of Chiefs (NHC) were confused about the implications of the December 17 Referendum, in particular regarding the decision to amend Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution, to enable political parties to participate in District Assembly and Sub-District Level elections, and could not more vehemently disagree with the CDD’s boss (See “House of Chiefs ‘Misinformed’ about December 17 Referendum – CDD Boss” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 11/18/19).
Prof. Prempeh may want to familiarize himself with the rejoinder captioned “Re – Press Statement on Referendum on Local Elections” (See “NO Vote: Togbe Afede Hits Back at ‘Dishonest’ Colleagues” 3News.com / Ghanaweb.com 11/17/19), which is signed by both Togbe Afede, XIV, and Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi, II, President and Vice-President, respectively, of the National House of Chiefs, to fully appreciate the flagrantly self-serving motive behind the decision by these two NHC leaders to fire up their subjects and, indeed, the Ghanaian electorate at large against a “YES!” vote that would wisely and progressively expand the country’s democratic culture to encompass all levels of our governance establishment.
Of particular interest to Prof. Prempeh should be the paragraph that reads as follows: “Currently, the appointment of 30% Government Nominees to local assemblies has been totally vitiated by partisan politics[,] with the result that appointments are determined by party membership to the virtual exclusion of traditional authorities[,] which[sic] are usually allocated a minimal representation by the executive of the ruling party – a total travesty of principles of good governance.” Clearly, contrary to what the Executive-Director of the CDD would have the rest of us believe, the leaders of the National House of Chiefs know precisely what they are doing.
From the paragraph quoted above, what the NHC’s capos appear to be bitterly complaining about is that their entitlement or what they perceive to be their inalienable right to nominate some of the local assembly members, as has been the case for the past 20-odd years, has been significantly denuded or rudely taken away from them. They are not saying this literally or in so many words, but they are clearly implying that under the government of the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP), whatever diddly rights of participation in the spoils of local governance have almost “totally” been denied them. These chiefs, therefore, have absolutely no other recourse or alternative but to whip up the popular sentiments of the electorate against the most visionary and progressive, as well as democratic, Ghanaian leader of our time.
In the unmistakably characteristic words of Togbe Afede, it is the legally erudite Chief of Asante-Asokore, that is, Nana Susubiribi Krobea Asante (aka Prof. SKB Asante), the globally renowned scholar and legal light, who has been studiously leading the charge against a “YES” referendum vote. To be certain, “listening” to Togbe Afede, the critical reader and thinker gets the rather curious but not altogether novel impression that it is these Three Musketeer Chieftains who, having sworn to derail the salutary democratization of Ghanaian political culture at the local or grassroots level, decided to strongarm “dishonest dissenters” like The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori-Panyin, II, and Ogyeahoho Nana Yaw Gyebi, II, Chief of Sehwi/Sefwi Anhwiaso, in the Western Region, into passively falling in line with this morally scandalous democracy-stalling agenda.
Which also pretty much explains why Nana Yaw Gyebi has bitterly and publicly complained that the NHC’s Governance Committee, of which he is the substantive chairman, was never duly afforded the well-deserved prime opportunity to deliberate on or debate and vote on the government’s proposition for the amendment of Article 53(3) of the Constitution, whose “YES” referendum approval would enable all legitimately registered political parties in the country to participate in sub-parliamentary level elections. It must also be emphatically noted that Independent Candidates will still be allowed to actively participate in these local elections, but Togbe Afede and some of his NHC cronies are mischievously making it appear as if nonpartisan or non-party-affiliated candidates will not be allowed to take part in these local elections.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
November 17, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]
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