A local government expert has urged chiefs to rally their subjects towards a "yes" vote in the December 17 referendum on the election of Metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs).
Dr Eric Oduro Osae, the Technical Advisor of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, appealed to chiefs, opinion leaders and religious leaders to join hands in the sensitisation of Ghanaians to participate in the December 17 referendum and the District Level Election (DLE), since voting was a civic responsibility.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra over the weekend, Dr Osae noted that the election of MMDCEs would enhance good governance, transparency and accountability and that it would go a long way to deepen Ghana's democratic credentials.
He also urged the traditional authorities to encourage their subjects to go out in their numbers on December 17 to vote in the coming election, so they would elect good assembly members, good unit committee members and then vote in favour or "yes" for the referendum.
He said this would go a long way to deepen local democracy; so that they would have the opportunity to elect their own MMDCEs.
He said the election of MMDECs would also deepen multiparty democracy at the local government level.
"Traditional authorities have an important stake in local democracy, because part of their remit or mandate are to bring development to the people, so any governance system that will bring development to the people is what I believe they should support," Dr Osae said.
He said traditional rulers were apolitical and that they had the power to bring all the citizens together to promote local level development irrespective of their political affiliation.
"We are entreating them to marshall their people in the same way as they did for the referendum for the creation of the new regions (in 2018). We want the chiefs to get involved in this DLE and the referendum as well; so that in the next four years we will have competent and qualify assembly members and unit committee members to work with to bring development to their people."
Dr Osae said opinions of leaders matter and that their opinions should lead to development.
He also urged religious leaders to use their platforms to educate their congregants on the pending DLE and the referendum on the election of MMDCEs.
Dr Osae said the referendum on the election of MMDCEs, if approved would strengthen local democracy and deepen multiparty system at the local level; declaring that it would make them truly accountable to the people through traditional authorities.
He said when one looks at the governance system of Ghana, it would be seen that the traditional authorities had played important roles from the first public to date.
He said under laws of the nation, the roles of traditional authorities were recognised; stating that they were being represented at the Council of State, at the Regional Coordinating Councils and in the District Assemblies.
"We expect them to take this matter up so that they will be part of the positive change that the state is bringing to ensure that local democracy thrives," he said.
With regards to the level of preparations towards the December 17 DLE and referendum, Dr Osae said so far the campaign teams - made of national, regional and district campaign teams were set-up to sensitise the people on the election.
He said right from first November; adverts and educational materials were flying all over the place to encourage the people to come out in their numbers to vote for their assembly members, unit committee members and to vote "yes" in the referendum.
Dr Osae further urged the media to also programme its agenda to the join the sensitisation and educational campaign towards the December 17 election.