The Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, has warned against not voting in the December 17 national referendum which will allow Ghanaians to elect their Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
According to him, the referendum is an opportunity for the citizenry to change the rules and create room for more inclusive participation.
Dr. Akwetey spoke at a ‘Trainer of Trainers’ workshop organized by IDEG on the 17th December National Referendum.
“We see people all the time but sometimes the rules are the most important. If you can change that rule, so many reforms will happen. It’s taken so long a time to get this decision made. President Kufuor couldn’t make it. President Mills set up CRC but unfortunately, he left us and then CRC finished its work but President Mahama didn’t do it. Now we have President Akufo-Addo who wants to do but some people in his party are against it, saying it was not part of their manifesto.”
“…So there is something fundamental. Ask yourself, why would the president make this decision? Once President Akufo-Addo decided to do this, he said he consulted the former presidents and they all supported him. So we’re living in some very important historic times, which means that the decision we make in this referendum, the rule we change will shape the future not only for ourselves but posterity,” he said.
The election of MMDCEs was a major campaign promise of the New Patriotic Party in the run-up to the 2016 election.
Government has already presented the amendment of Article 243 (1) of the 1992 constitution bill which requires the President to appoint Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) to Parliament.
When passed, all MMDCEs would be elected by Universal Adult Suffrage after the 2020 general election.
Currently, Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that District Chief Executives for every district are to be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting.
In addition, the Bill amending Article 55 (3) would also pave the way for political parties to sponsor candidates for elections of the MMDCEs and the Assembly Members.
President Akufo-Addo in recent developments urged the MMDCEs to take the upcoming referendum for the election seriously.
He said that the government could not afford to fail in delivering on the campaign promise it made to the Ghanaian populace since it is critical for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2020 general elections.
Meanwhile, the main opposition National Democratic Congress has called on the Electoral Commission to ensure keen supervision of the elections to ensure a free, fair and just referendum.
The referendum for the election of the Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives is set to happen on December 17, 2019, as declared by the Electoral Commission.