After close to two months of excusing himself from public discussions, Prof. Ransford Gyampo, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, has broken his silence on the now aborted Referendum which sought to allow political parties to participate in elections at the district level, ABC News can report.
Prof. Gyampo revealed that in spite of his silence, he read and observed with keen interest the various arguments for and against the amendment of Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
He indicated that regardless the announced cancellation of the exercise, he finds it prudent to address those who argue for the election of MMDCEs without political parties participating in the process.
In his view, although such proposals are sound, the exclusion of political parties from local level elections has far-reaching consequences than doing otherwise.
“In my view, electing MMDCEs without parties cannot be a full-proof of anything. It has benefits but has its serious dangers too” a statement released by Prof. Gyampo indicated.
The exclusion of political parties, Prof. Gyampo observed, will permit candidates of the same party to stand against each other, reduce the polarization and tension that have engulfed the nation in the lead up to multiparty national elections, among other benefits.
In spite of these benefits, Prof. Gyampo counter-argued that there are far-reaching dangers if political parties are exempted from the exercise, which, he said, ought to be seriously taken into consideration.
The exclusion of political parties, he argued, will increase the role of financiers with their own agenda at the local level to sponsor candidates of their choice, manipulate them to push agendas that may run contrary to the interest of the local people and the programmes of the central government.
“There is the possibility of serious sabotage and more confusion between the central government and the elected MMDCE with no known political affiliation, who may either be independent or be manipulated by money bags with a quid pro quo agenda in mind,” he said.
The exemption of political parties, he further indicated, will perpetuate the winner-takes-all politics as minority political parties, which have lost national elections, are excluded and marginalized from the executive arm of government at the local level as currently practiced.
“It will lead to chaos and indiscipline at the local level as the current role of the President and the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) in monitoring and coordination will be weakened. In fact, those elected will literally be reporting to their financiers who will be calling the shots. This might lead to an institutional paralysis of some of the Metropolitan, Metropolitan and District Assemblies, ” he observed.
“It is noteworthy that there are potential benefits and risks in electing MMDCEs without political parties. It is, therefore erroneous for anyone to ignore both sides of the coin,” he said and expressed hope that his contribution will guide future discussions on the subject.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a brief address to the nation on Sunday, December 1, 2019, cancelled the December 17 national referendum which was meant to decide on an amendment of Article 55 (3) of the Constitution to enable political parties to sponsor candidates during local level elections.
The President attributed the decision to the absence of “a durable national consensus” on the matter following consultations.