Why the National Referendum of Article 55(3) of the Constitution of Ghana?

Why the national referendum? This has been a mind blowing question which has placed citizens in a dilemma. The national referendum slated for 17th December, 2019, seeks to amend the entrenched Article 55 clause (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana to allow Political Parties to sponsor candidates in local government elections.


On Wednesday November 13th, 2019, the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra Launched the Regional / Archdiocesan Sensitization Programme on the Upcoming Referendum at Christ the King Parish Hall, Cantonments Accra under the theme: “Participation of Political Parties and Citizens in the District Level Elections.”

There have been debates on the Participation of Political Parties in Ghana’s local governance system about 30 years with several challenges. It is known in reality, that political parties secretly support candidates for the District Level Elections (DLEs) and it is prudent to open up the system for the participation of the political parties rather than continue with the pretension of non-party based local government.

Mrs. Clara Kasser-Tee, a lecturer at GIMPA School of Law explained why the need for ‘National Referendum’.

“There is an opportunity to change the law when it is needed because the constitution is the law and can be changed. The process of changing the law is an (amendment) which is basically to change an existing law” she said.

According to Mrs. Kasser-Tee, the constitution is the law and it can be amended when the need be.

This proposal cannot be amended by parliament, the citizens of Ghana are obliged to participate in a referendum where citizens in their various locality will vote in the favour of the Bill to amend Clause 3 of Article 55 of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to sponsor Candidates for election to District Assembly or Lower local Government Units or Unit Committee Members to work across partisan line.

On Tuesday December 17, 2019 Ghanaian registered voters are to exercise their franchise and this goes by a “YES” (Yellow colour) or “NO” (Brown colour) vote.

The “YES” is being in favour of political parties’ participation in the District level Elections (DLEs) and Metropolitan Municipal District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

“The quality of Metropolitan Municipal District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and Assembly members would improve because the political parties with their own internal vetting and competitive process will scrutinize and bring out their best candidates for election as they compete among themselves.” IDEG

Voting “No” is rejecting the political parties’ participation in the District Level Elections (DLEs). This implies that the candidates will continue to be elected at the local government but political parties cannot sponsor them.

Before this law can be changed, 40% of the total electorate must turn up for the vote and 75% of the total vote cast must be “YES”

Mrs. Clara Kasser-Tee employed that we should remember who we are, think about our society and make the right choice for the development of our communities likewise making decisions based on our reality.

 

By Theresa Kpordzo

DEPSOCOM News, Accra.