December 17 Referendum: Jean Mensa fought against partisanship at the local level in the past – Prof. Ahwoi

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Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, a former Minister for Local Government and Rural Development under the Jerry John Rawlings administration, has alleged that Jean Mensa, Electoral Commission Chairperson kicked against partisanship within the Municipal, Metropolitan, District Chief Executives elections and other local-level contests during her time as Institute of Economic Affairs Executive Director, ABC News can report.

According to Mr. Ahwoi, the EC boss, who served as the Executive Director of the Policy Think Tank, Institute of Economic Affairs, was one of the many people in the Civil Society Organization space who stood against political polarization for almost ten (10) years.

“Some of the Civil Society Organizations that have been championing this course, and it includes Madam Jean Mensah, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission and Chairman of the IEA, for ten years I was her consultant and one of their major concerns is the issue of political polarization, we did not less than 5 retreats and workshops on this issue of polarization and everybody is concerned that the country is split down the middle politically” he stated.

Standing by the position of his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), that Ghanaians should not vote for the proposed amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, Prof. Ahwoi argued that making local government elections political will among other things, make the elected leaders responsible to their parties and not to the community they serve.

“It will lead to a hijacking of the district assemblies by the parties. The elected assembly members will now become responsible and accountable to the party and not to the community, which is not what we want. It will create a situation where people who do not belong to political parties or who belong to minority parties but who want to offer their services to the community will be denied the opportunity because they will not be sponsored by the political parties.

“Third, marginalized, excluded and disadvantaged groups normally are not fielded by political parties and so you would see that they would not have a say in the present system, they are there either through their own system or through the appointment mechanism,” he noted in an interview with Accra based Joy Fm, Wednesday.

The NDC bigwig noted that the challenges which come with polarization even at the National level have not been successfully dealt with and, therefore, should not be extended to the local level.

He noted, “something that we are concern about on the national level, When we have not found the solution to it, why do you want to export it to the local level?”

Likening a ‘Yes’ vote to the UK Referendum in June 2016, which was to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union (EU) and popularly called Brexit, Mr Ahwoi stated that the referendum would create chaos at the local government level.

Prof Kwamena Ahwoi, who heads a committee of experts that advises the NDC on the upcoming referendum, said Tuesday on Joy FM’s Top Story that a ‘Yes’ victory, which would enable political parties to take part in the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives

“We have to avoid a Brexit situation. When we rush into a referendum, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, then suddenly we are confronted with all these issues that we have not thought through,” he said.

The December 17 Referendum is not to elect Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) but to seek public approval for the amendment of Article 55 (3), which bars political parties from participating in local elections.



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