The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has expressed its resentment about the decision by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to suspend the December 17 referendum, ABC News can report.
President Akufo-Addo in an address to the nation Sunday, announced that he has issued a directive to the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development to “see to the withdrawal of the bills for the amendment of the Constitution both in respect of Article 243(1) and Article 55(3).”
The amendment of article 243(1) was meant to take the power of appointing Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) from the President and given to the people to vote for them. The amendment of Article 55(3), which was the purpose of the referendum, on the other hand, was also to allow for political parties’ participation in elections at the local level.
The withdrawal of the Bill means that Ghanaians can no longer have the power to vote for their MMDCEs, neither can political parties partake in elections at the local level until such a time when there is an amendment of the relevant Articles.
Following the President’s latest announcement, the PPP, in a statement signed by its Communication Director, Paa Kow Ackon, condemned the decision, accusing the New Patriotic Party (NPP) of failing to fulfill its campaign promise.
The PPP said it could not comprehend why President Akufo-Addo would deny Ghanaians the opportunity to elect their own MMDCEs.
In their view, a referendum does not require a national consensus to be conducted and therefore should have been allowed to happen as scheduled.
“Today, we are extremely disappointed and frustrated by the decision of President Akufo-Addo to abort the process and seek the withdrawal of the Bills for the amendment of the constitution both in respect of Article 243(1) and Article 55(3).
“Why has the NPP chosen not to follow through on their campaign promise of bringing governance to the doorsteps of the people by overseeing the direct election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) within 24 months of election into office, to coincide with the next District Assembly elections in 2019” as promised in their 2016 manifesto?” the political party asked.
“Why should the President truncate a constitutional process by denying the masses the opportunity to determine how local administration should be established? If a few people decide to vote NO, should that be misconstrued as “disrespecting the President”, as suggested by Mr Dan Botwe, Minister for Regional Reorganization and Development? Which referendum in the world has recorded a 100% YES endorsement?” it added.
The PPP further urged Parliament to ensure amendments of Articles 243(1), 243(3), 248(1)(2) and 242(d) to establish the basis for the election of MMDCEs despite the President’s directives.
“If we are interested in holding our leaders accountable in the generation and judicious use of our resources for rapid development at the local level, then we must all support the call by the PPP to change the Constitution to enable the election of all MMDCEs,” it said.
The party also reiterated its longstanding belief in and commitment to the election of MMDCEs, indicating that it is the surest way to bring development to the local people.
“The ability of our citizens to exercise basic political rights in electing their own MMDCEs is the sine qua non for local government decentralization which cannot wait any longer. Our Party is resolute and firm in our minds that the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm at the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies must come to an end!” the PPP asserted.
Below is the full statement released by the party