Akufo-Addo Had No Power To Abort Referendum – Lawyer
A private legal practitioner, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo says President Akufo-Addo had no power in aborting the December 17 referendum.
The President on Sunday, December 1, 2019 cancelled the December 17 national referendum which was meant to decide on an amendment of Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to enable political parties to sponsor candidates during local level elections.
But speaking on Citi TV/FM's current affairs program The Big Issue, Mr Addo, referring to Article 290 (4) of the Constitution said the President's decision to terminate the referendum was unlawful because he did not have the authority to do so.
“I have a problem with the President seeking to exercise power and authority that he has not been given. Once he initiated the process, he did not have the authority once the referendum was yet to be held to decide that midway, he was going to pull the Bill back. The constitution does not give you that power under Article 290(4). It says that a Bill for the amendment of an entrenched provision shall before Parliament proceeds to consider it, be referred to the Speaker then he'll refer it to the Council of State,” he said.
“The Bill then comes back to Parliament for it to be published in the gazette and then introduced again in Parliament after which it leaves Parliament. Now the Bill has left Parliament and then you seek to come to say that you are withdrawing a portion of the Bill because consensus has not been made. For me, I'm clear in mind that he had no such power and that his actions were unlawful.”
Referendum termination is unconstitutional
Also making similar comments as Nii Kpakpo Addo is a private legal practitioner and former Member of Parliament for the Zebilla Constituency, John Ndebugri.
He argued that the Local Government Minister does not have the power to withdraw the Bill because it was no longer with Parliament but rather the Electoral Commission.
He also insisted that going behind the EC to cancel the referendum is an indication that the electoral body is not truly independent.
NPC commends referendum cancellation
However, the Chairman of the National Peace Council Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante has disclosed that the decision of the President Nana Akufo-Addo to abort December 17 referendum is a commendable one.
According to him, it is very important for the President to seek broad consensus on such a delicate issue as the amendment of entrenched clauses.
Speaking to Citi News, Rev. Asante, reiterated that the decision is a step in the right direction.