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28.11.2019 General News

Akufo-Addo Has No Power To Postpone, Withdraw December Referendum — John Ndebugri

By Simon A. Tetteh
Akufo-Addo Has No Power To Postpone, Withdraw December Referendum — John Ndebugri

Private legal practitioner, John Ndebugri says, President Akufo-Addo has no powers to withdraw or postpone the December 17 referendum.

According to him, calls for the postponement or withdrawal of the December 17 referendum are unfounded.

Speaking to Citi News, he said, the processes to ensure a referendum has passed a stage where neither the Executive or Legislature can withdraw or postpone it.

He stated, “The referendum cannot be withdrawn or postponed. If a decision is taken to amend an entrenched clause of the 1992 constitution, the government will publish the intention in the gazette six months in advance and then lay the bill before Parliament for the House to refer it to the Council of State. The Council will consider the proposal and advice for or against. Then it goes back to Parliament for the Electoral Commission to put the question before the nation through a referendum. We have passed through all that and so the matter is no longer within the ambit of the Executive. It is even not within the powers of Parliament because it is now with the Electoral Commission.”

The legal practitioner, also a former Member of Parliament for Bawku West, maintained that all the constitutional requirements for the exercise have been followed.

The December 17 referendum was part of the governing NPP party's 2016 campaign manifesto to allow citizens elect Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

However, the decision to allow political parties to sponsor candidates at local level elections has generated heated debate in the country with even parliamentarians divided on the matter.

More pressure is being mounted on the government to halt plans to hold the December 17 referendum.

The National House of Chiefs and opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) among other pressure groups are campaigning for electorates to vote ‘NO’ at the polls.

But the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) believes a ‘YES’ majority vote holds the magic to the future of Ghana’s development.

Civil Society Organization groups have expressed the dangers the country faces if it should go for a “Yes”.

They have maintained that accountability, decency, truthfulness and hope for a better future, would be thrown to the dogs the very day we allow political parties to present candidates for election at the local level.