Ghanaians urged to vote “Yes” in coming December referendum – A Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae has urged Ghanaians to vote ‘Yes’ in the upcoming December 17 referendum which sought to allow the populace to vote on a bill to amend Article 55(3) to introduce a multiparty system of elections at the local level.
According to him, voting ‘Yes’ was in the best interest of Ghanaians to allow for development at the local level as happening at the national level.
“At the national level where we have allowed political parties to participate, there have been competition of ideas which has resulted in bringing development to the people at the national level and so it would be in the good interest of Ghanaians to vote ‘Yes’ to allow for a multiparty system which will also allow same competition to ensure development at the local level.” He urged.
Dr. Osae was speaking at a training workshop organized for journalists at Nyanyano in the Central region on the proposed government reforms, particularly on the constitutional, regulatory and political processes of the December 17, 2019 referendum and District Assembly elections.
The workshop formed part of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) media-civil society organizations partnership for inclusive governance and was sponsored by Star-Ghana.
Journalists were taken through the proposed multiparty local governance reforms, conceptual issues of the amended local government act 2016 (Act 936) among others.
Dr. Oduro stated that democracy and good governance thrived on the work of political parties, adding political parties serve as vehicles to mobilize people to participate in elections hence the need to engage them at the local level for maximum participation.
“At the national level, we are able to hit about 85 percent turnout during elections but when it comes to the local level we are hitting about 45 percent and this is because of the absence of multi-partisan system,” he said adding, “it does not allow for our democracy to deepen at the local level”.
He stated there was the need to change the current trend where governance at the local level has become a one-party system where the ruling government appointed the MMDCEs and Government appointees.
He stated that Chapter 6 of the constitution Article 35(6d) requires that steps be taken to “make democracy a reality by decentralizing the administrative and financial machinery of government to the regions and districts and by affording all possible opportunities to the people to participate in decision making at every level in national life and in government.”
“A Yes vote will get other political parties on board to compete with the current party in government and through the competition our local level democracy would be deepened and the public would be able to hold political parties accountable for local-level development,” he stated
Dr Kwesi Jonah, Head of Advocacy and Institutional Relations at the Institute for Democratic Governance, for his part, stated that the country can no longer pretend not to realize that some political parties were already involved in the elections at the local level adding that voting ‘Yes’ would allow them to freely participate.
Ama Takyiwa Ampadu Agyeman:
Ghanaian Times in the Eastern Region