The Movement has keenly followed the debate on the ensuing matters of the upcoming referendum. We realised at first, a deliberate attempt by some government officials and their surrogates to mischievously misinform the public on the fundamental question for the referendum.
We must, first of all, thank the National Commission for Civic Education for coming out though late to educate the public to know that the upcoming referendum is not about the election of MMDCES.
Indeed, the referendum seeks to elicit from the citizenry, whether or not we agree for partisanship to be introduced into our local Assembly elections. The proposed amendment is specifically on article 55(3). The said article prohibits political parties from partaking in our local assembly elections.
We wish to state unequivocally that:
1. The framers of the 1992 constitution anticipated that not every level of society must be made overly partisan because of the divisive tendencies ignited by the activities of political parties. At that level, the spirit of communualism, unity and inclusiveness are fundamentally important.
2. We are strongly against the introduction of partisanship at that level particularly so when we have witnessed the unpleasant evidences of extreme polarisation, divisiveness, discrimination, violence and among other negative development perpetuated by the needless rivalry among political parties especially between the NPP and the NDC.
3. The current arrangement is not a problem and the citizens of Ghana do not complain of the current arrangement. What has been a subject of debate is the election of the MMDCES of which we can easily resolve without amending article 55(3).
4. The constitutional review commission report did indicate the abhorrence by citizens of the introduction of partisanship at the local assemblies.
5. The introduction of partisanship in our local level elections is going to increase the cost of elections. Since political parties would now have the powers to sponsor a candidate, forms for assembly member elections would no longer be free, platforms organised for their debate by the electoral commission would not be free. Political parties would have to spent to ensure their candidates win. The ripple effect would be vote buying and corruption as we have seen in various forms being perpetuated by political parties. Those who may win these elections would be representing the interest of their various political parties and not their electoral areas. This is going to affect the development of our various communities since their interest would not be fully represented.
6. Most communities have their conventions and norms with regards to assembly member elections. These conventions are primarily important and contributing to their peaceful coexistence. Political parties if given the opportunity would destroy these conventions and end up introducing conflicts among communities.
7. For we the movement for fairness and justice, having properly assessed the current situation, and having listened to ordinary citizens, having in mind the spirit of brotherhood and sister hood, which are essential to nation building, we think that voting in favour of the amendment is dangerous and a threat to democracy at the grassroot. We wish to urge all Ghanaians to vote NO in the upcoming referendum to defend the progress we have made so far in the current structure of the decentralisation. We cannot experiment partisanship in the structure having no assurance of any hopes from results of an overly polarised system. Nation building is far beyond political affiliation.
8. We wish to seriously caution Dr Bossman Asare, one of the deputy commissioners of the Electoral Commission not to throw away the trust and integrity we have in the electoral body. His recent posturing so far as this upcoming referendum is concerned, potends danger. His public display of partiality is innimical to our much cherished democratic dispensation. If Dr Asare has an insatiable desire for partisan politics and cannot resist the temptation to display same, we admonish that he should resign from that sensitive position as a commissioner so that he can boldly engage in his politicking.
Nana Yaw Asare
0549 734 023
*Director of Operations*
Mr Samuel Boateng
0243 849 051
Nana Asare Bediako
0577 310 234
*All Media House*