The regional campaign on the upcoming District Level Elections (DLEs) and the national referendum seeking to amend article 55 (3) of the Constitution has commenced in Upper West with a call for mass voter turnout.
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) who spearheaded the launch in Wa, said it believes a YES for the referendum bill would eliminate chronic problems connected to appointments of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
“It is envisaged that a vote in favour of the Bill will put to rest the perennial problems associated with appointments of MMDCEs,” Madam Patience Sally Kumah, Upper West Regional Director of NCCE, said.
She told participants at the launch that the public campaign had become necessary because of the country’s history of low voter turnout in local elections.
“The awareness-raising campaign, therefore, is to whip up public interest in the elections and mobilise the citizenry towards attaining a higher voter turnout of at least 40% of registered voters,” she said.
“It is also to correct the misinformation and misrepresentations out there on the amendment”.
The DLEs and the referendum will concurrently take place on 17th December and afford voters the opportunity to decide on their assembly and unit committee members as well as a vote “YES” or “NO” on article 55 (3) which is an entrenched provision of the 1992 constitution.
It prohibits political parties from sponsoring their preferred candidates for elections at the lower government units or structures.
The NCCE and the Information Services Department jointly launched the “public education and awareness raising campaign” to encourage high voter turnout.
Samuel Asare Akuamoah, NCCE Deputy Director of Operations, said an amendment of the provision would pave way for the election of MMDCEs.
He said an amendment of the article implied that “the sitting President wants to give up part of his powers to the people at the lower structures”.
He quoted a survey outcome released by the NCCE in 2015 on whether citizens wanted their MMDCEs elected, which showed about 69.4 per cent of Ghanaians answered in affirmative.
He also cited aforobarometre report and the Constitutional Review Commission report as having recommended for the election of MMDCEs.
The NCCE earlier said the amendment when effected would ultimately introduce a multi-partisan local government system and deepen the country’s democracy.
The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin-Salih, who declared the campaign duly launched advised voters to turn out in their numbers for the referendum to be successful.
For the Constitution to be amended at least 40 per cent of the registered voters should turn out to vote, and out of which, at least 75 per cent, should vote YES in favour of the position to make the election of MMDCEs and DLEs partisan.
All political parties and stakeholders declared their support to make the referendum a successful one to pave way for the election of MMDCEs.