North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has asked the government to disclose how much money it has expended on the “abortive referendum.”
The outspoken legislator demanded the government adds the steps it is taking “to prevent any more financial loss to the state, especially as we are aware printing of ballot papers and other ancillary expenditures had long commenced.”
His demand comes hours after President Nana Akufo-Addo in a live TV broadcast, announced “with a heavy heart,” the abortion of the December 17 referendum.
The public vote was meant to ask citizens to amend Article 55/3 of the Constitution.
Despite the President and the governing New Patriotic Party’s understanding that there was cross-party consensus on the question of allowing political parties to participate in local government elections, the biggest opposition party pulled a shocker.
The National Democratic Congress announced at press conference a couple of weeks ago that they would campaign actively against the motion.
The NDC argued the country was already heavily divided by the duopoly of the NDC and the NPP at the national level and there was no need to transfer that rivalry to the Assemblies.
The government accused the NDC of mischief as the opposition party initially expressed support to repeal Article 55/3 which barred political parties from the Assemblies.
But the party said after thorough deliberations and on the advice of a committee of local government experts, it decided to oppose the amendment.
The seeming smooth sail for the referendum quickly descended into a bi-partisan debate with experts also heavily divided on the amendment.
Growing calls on the President to halt the process and build a national consensus before submitting same to a public vote could no longer be ignored.
On Sunday evening, President Akufo-Addo budged, announcing he will direct the Local Government Minister to withdraw the amendment bill.
He however, insisted he was confident the referendum could have attained the 75 percent endorsement of 40 percent registered voters it needed to pass, an assertion the National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi has laughed off.