George Kyei Baffour, a local government expert, has blamed the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs), National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) as well as the Electoral Commission (EC) and Parliament for the low education, sensitisation and awareness on the Tuesday December 17, 2019, referendum.
He maintained that “MMDCEs are apathetic about the processes to elect them hence reluctant to support and assist campaign with the seriousness it deserves, EC and NCCE are also not living up to expectations in terms of sensitisation, education, awareness and providing clarity on the referendum.
“With barely a month left for referendum, education, sensitisation and awareness seem to be low as only 42 per cent of the electorate is aware of the exercise, findings contained in latest Afrobarometer Round Eight report released by Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD),” Mr Baffour, a former president of the National Association of Local Association of Ghana (NALAG) bemoaned.
Mr Baffour expressed the sentiment in Koforidua in the Eastern Region at a sensitisation, education, awareness and stakeholder engagement jointly organised by NALAG and Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee on Decentralisation (IMCCD).
Even though he agreed with the report, he blamed the delay by Parliament in reviewing Article 243(1 ) of the 1992 Constitution as contributory factor to lethargic view of the electorate, may affect turnout of elections, described as crucial to enhancement participatory governance, envisaged to end agitations surrounding nominations of MMDCEs.
In a speech delivered on his behalf, Bismark Nkum, the president of NALAG, debunked an assertion the referendum would not pave way for election of MMDCEs contrary to public perception.
“Yes vote on Article 55 (3) and parliament fails to amend 243 (1), MMDCEs will still be appointed by the president, no vote and parliament amends Article 243(1), MMDCEs will be elected through universal adult suffrage but not on partisan bases, I acknowledge and happy the president wishes to relinquish power under Article 243(1) but for parliament to decide not at the referendum since article 243(1) is not an entrenched provision, only parliament has power to amend by two-thirds decision.
“NDC and NPP have always politicised local level elections at the blind side of the citizenry, referendum meant to give validity to illegality perpetuated over the years all,” Mr Nkum revealed.