By Emmanuel Gamson, GNA
Tamale, Nov. 05, GNA - Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale has expressed worry at the low public education on the impending referendum to amend article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to legitimise the full participation of political parties.
The nationwide sensitization on the referendum would inform the electorate to make proper decision on whether to allow political parties to participate in the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
The Archbishop said “even though this referendum is expected to take place in December 2019, little is heard of it in public discourse”.
According to him, “There are not the usual commentaries and debates that go with elections and politics as we have experienced in recent times, despite the fact that our very development infrastructure is based on effective mobilisation of local resources and participation of local people in governance”.
Archbishop Naameh expressed his sentiments at the launch of the Regional/Diocesan sensitisation programme on the upcoming referendum and election of MMDCEs organised by the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), in Tamale.
It was on the theme; “Participation of political parties and citizens in the District Level Elections”, and provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss the theme with the view of raising public awareness and interest.
The Archbishop said it was worrying that such an important national exercise was not receiving the level of participation it needed for discussions among Ghanaians.
He therefore called for an increased awareness creation on the referendum by stakeholders and pledged the support of the Catholic Church in deepening the education to enable full participation of citizens in the exercise.
Most Reverend Naameh said the election of MMDCEs would mark the turning point in local governance and enhance accountability and deepen democracy, which would accelerate development, and urged the citizenry to turnout massively to endorse the proposal, come December 17.
Alhaji Abdul Razak Saani, the Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), explained that the referendum was not for the election of MMDCEs, but was seeking inputs from Ghanaians to amend article 55 (3) to allow district level elections to be conducted on partisan basis.
He said for the amendment of article 55 (3) to be successful, the referendum must record 40 per cent voter turnout and out of that number, 75 per cent must vote “Yes” to confirm the proposal.
Mr Francis Ayamwusi Asobayire, Assistant Northern Regional State Attorney, said local level elections had recorded low turnouts over the years and appealed to the citizenry to actively participate in the national exercise to achieve the 40 per cent turnout and the 70 per cent “Yes” votes.