Parliament Heats Up Over Referendum Suspension

A raging debate has ensued between the Majority and Minority in Parliament following the cancellation of the December 17 referendum by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Sunday night.

The President said that, through the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, he was recalling from Parliament the bill that was seeking to amend articles 55(3) and 243 (1), because there was lack of broad national consensus among key stakeholders and some sections of the public on how to go about the issue.

The President had said he had a firm understanding from all the political actors including former presidents that certain clauses in the 1992 Constitution needed to be amended to pave way for political parties to participate in local level elections but the National Democratic Congress (NDC) stabbed the whole country in the back when it made a U-turn to campaign for a ‘No’ vote.

“I do not believe that such an amendment should be driven as a party matter. There has to be a clear national consensus and agreement among the populace that a particular entrenched provision no longer serves the interest of the people and, thus, has to be removed,” he said.

“In this case, it had been long apparent that political parties were, in fact, actively involved in district assembly elections, despite their apparently non-partisan nature. The time has come to strip the process of its hypocrisy and accept and work with the reality of party involvement,” the President added.

Mahama Push

Former President John Mahama, who President Akufo-Addo said was part of those he met to discuss the local governance issue, is now turning around to say the respected leaders did not agree in principle to move the agenda.

NDC Member of Parliament (MP) Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa claimed Mr. Mahama told him the former presidents did not agree with President Akufo-Addo to elect MMDCEs on partisan basis.

“I have spoken to our flag bearer and he says that what they discussed was electing MMDCEs for which there is a broad-based consensus. There was no commitment towards Article 55(3) amendment and introducing partisan politics at the local level; there was no such consensus.

“Former President Rawlings did not endorse; former President Kufuor did not endorse and former President Mahama has not endorsed it so it is really strange that anybody will be suggesting that our former presidents achieved consensus,” Mr. Ablakwa said on Starr FM.

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