Arthur Kennedy writes: Proposed changes to local governance

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The controversies surrounding the proposed changes to our local government elections are unfortunate.
Let me begin my comments by commending President Akufo-Addo’s government for initiating the changes. Regardless of where one stands, the initiative was commendable. These and other changes to this constitution have been overdue for years.
Before I state my position, let me comment on some comments made by others.

First, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko implied that the amendments, of 55(3), by referendum and 243(1), by Parliament must be linked. He stated that “If we can’t find a multi-party consensus on this matter of multi-party elections at local government level then I don’t see why the President should give up his power to nominate, in the first place “. He continued that ” A “NO” for the referendum should also mean a “NO” to both amendments “. Gabby and by implication the President is/are wrong to link the 2 amendments.
 Indeed, the President should have pushed for just the amendment of 243(1), to stop the appointment of and to initiate the election of MMDCE’s by the people. This amendment, passed by a significant bipartisan super-majority of our Parliament,  would immeasurably enhance our democracy and bring this President credit for initiating this deepening of our democracy. Indeed, it would, without doubt, be one of his most enduring legacies.
Second, even while major stakeholders are calling for a postponement because the public is uninformed and rather apathetic, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), is insisting that it has done an adequate job of educating the public. They should stop mocking our ignorance by bragging.
Third, the normally measured Kwasi Prempeh opined that the National House of Chiefs may be confused following their call for a “NO” vote on December 17th. If the chiefs are confused, how clear is the public?
The public rancour, probably with partisan roots that has erupted amongst Nananom is a sad reminder of the damage that inordinate partisanship has done to our institutions– all of them. I am not familiar with the arcane details of the National House of Chiefs but Togbe Afede XIV and Nana Kwebu Ewusi spoke for Ghana when they said, “We are concerned that the introduction of partisan politics into local government will be accompanied by the unwholesome political culture and the corruption associated with partisan politics which has already done a lot of harm to our society and economy”.
Our parties have too much influence and Ghanaians have too little influence in our politics.
The framers of our constitution limited the role of our parties in local government and during this Republic, our parties have done nothing to show that they deserve a bigger role. And I state this as one who, as a young man, opposed UNIGOV vigorously.
The introduction of party primaries into our local elections will increase the cost and with it, corruption in our local elections.
Finally,  a “NO” vote is not a vote against the President or the NPP– it is NOT a vote for the NDC– it is a vote for Ghana and our democracy.
Let’s vote “NO” for the sake of Ghana.
Long live Ghana.
Source: Arthur Kobina Kennedy 

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