The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has expressed sadness over the cancellation of the proposed December 17, 2019 referendum on the participation of political parties in the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCES) in Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo on Sunday, December 1, 2019, announced to the nation the cancellation of the referendum due what he termed as lack of broad, national consensus.
President Akufo-Addo has, thus, instructed the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, MP, who is spearheading the process, on behalf of government, to abort the process, and see to the withdrawal of the bills for the amendment of the Constitution, both in respect of article 243(1) and article 55(3).
The President indicated the attainment of a broad consensus, for him, on a matter as important as the amendment of an entrenched provision of the Constitution, is critical.
“I do not believe that such an amendment should be driven as a party matter. There has to be a clear national consensus and agreement amongst the populace that a particular entrenched provision no longer serves the interest of the people, and, thus, has to be removed,” he said.
There have been mixed reactions to the President Akufo-Addo Government’s decision to cancel the December 17, 2019 referendum.
The NPP in a statement signed by its General Secretary, John Boadu, said, it was saddened that the President “has been given no choice but to issue instructions for the withdrawal of the proposed amendments to Articles 243(1) and 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution, which would have seen the benefits of multiparty democracy extended to the local government level.”
It added that “we, are however, encouraged by the assurance last night that the President and his Government are not giving up in the important search for a consensus for as long as the NPP remains in office.”
It blamed the opposition NDC and its flagbearer, John Mahama for the cancellation of the referendum.
According to NPP, “John Mahama is only interested in power. He is not interested in empowering people at the grassroots level. He is not interested in empowering our governance structures where it matters most.”
It added that “John Mahama is not interested in improving accountability at the local government level. He is interested in protecting the winner-takes-all culture. He is interested in maintaining all the executive powers at the top of the central government.”
“The question that must be asked and answered by the good people of Ghana. That, between the two main leaders, Nana Akufo-Addo and John Mahama; between the two main political parties, NPP and NDC, which of them can you trust to have the interest of Ghana at heart? Who puts Ghana first? Who is prepared to let go the powers that the Constitution of the Republic grants to a President for the sake of improving how our country is governed? The answers are very clear to all.”
“For the NDC who say that introducing multiparty contests at the local government level would make governance at that level tainted by conflict, we say to them that they are not true democrats. They also do not have trust in themselves as a Party,” it stated.