President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says there was the need to strip away the hypocrisy in local partisan elections.
To him, it was continuously baffling that "at the national level party politics seem to be working. Ghana has a history in these past 25, 26 years, we have had three changes of government through the ballot box in this country."
He said although there have been difficulties in these exercises "but at the end of the day, we have been able as a people to use the ballot box to change government on a multi-party basis, the last change is the one that brought me to this house. It hasn't been done and threatened the integrity of our state or instability."
"And as I can see it, party politics has been a very important instrument in heightening public accountability in our country. It has made possible free expression and apart from everything else, also it has allowed people to associate for public purposes," President Akufo-Addo reiterated.
"You join the party of your choice, nobody is forcing anybody to join any party, we do so as a voluntary act because we share common values. We are saying that is alright for the national level but for the local level somehow rather it becomes a ... and yet the national expression of multi-party democracy takes place at the local level. The very people who were going to vote for the DCEs [District Chief Executives] are the same people who vote for MPs [Members of Parliament] and they do it with ease every four years and nobody has a difficulty, from Abomosu, Anyinam or any of those places from where I come from in going to the ballot box in deciding they want to vote for ....so why would they have such a difficulty in voting for their District Chief Executives.
He explained that it was because of the lack of consensus that he decided to call off the referendum and that he does not believe that no matter what the prospects are, "that a matter like this involving the revision or amendment of an entrenched clause of the constitution should be a party-driven affair, where one party will come, change an entrenched provision of the constitution and against the wish of another party and when that party when it gets its turn in government will then take us through the same proposal to replace it or restore it. I don't think that is the way we want to play with our constitution and it is the reason why I decided to call it off, we were going to have a YES or NO vote on party lines on such a sensitive and important issue.
He said his government will continue to work on a consensus and hopefully when that consensus is solid on the ground, we can then begin to revisit the matter.
Concluding on that matter, President Akufo-Addo said he was open to "further engage with the NDC on the referendum in the future as all the formal processes for cancelling what would have taken place on Tuesday [December 17, 2019] has been done now.