Members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) will be voting ‘No’ in the upcoming December 17, referendum. Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrissu, has disclosed.
The Minority Leader explained that the ‘No’ vote will come as a result of some lapses in the articles governing the referendum.
“The party has raised very key constitutional and national security issues that must guide policy action and indeed guide even government,” he said.
Ghanaians on December 17, will be casting a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote in a referendum to allow Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) participate in local elections based on party affiliations.
The government needs at least 40 percent of eligible voters turning out to vote and at least 75 percent voting in favour for its ‘Yes’ campaign to succeed.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Monday, the Minority Leader disclosed that Parliamentarians in the opposition have decided to vote a ‘No’ based on a three-line whip that was issued to its members on last week Wednesday and Thursday.
Haruna Iddrisu stated that some articles governing the referendum defeat its purpose.
He cited Article 243 (3) which gives the President the power to remove a DCE from office after being elected, as an example.
“When article 243 (1) was introduced, we drew government’s attention that the amendment before Parliament was flawed because it was not comprehensive enough.
“And if that amendment passed, which is just an amendment to Article 243 (1) of the Constitution, we would not be doing justice even to the principle of an elected MMDCE,” he stated.
He also stated that although the attention of the President has been drawn to some of these lapses only a few portions of the Constitution have been amended, a process he described as ‘cherry-picking’ constitutional amendment.
“We said for instance article 243(3) which removes the DCE from office…so we are saying that the DCE should be elected yet the President can fire him the next day after he has been elected.
“That is not part of the amendment the President introduced in Parliament,” he added.
The Tamale South MP stated that the process does not support the electoral principle that is being espoused by the government.
He also stated that the President has been silent on other aspects of the Article, citing Article 248 which inhibits candidates seeking election to a district assembly or any lower local government unit, from being associated with any political party as one.
He further said that the Electoral Commission has not properly provided education to the public on the referendum.
According to him, the public is only being informed about the need to vote in a referendum but has not been properly informed that the vote also has an aspect that deals with the MMDCEs being voted for on partisan tolls.
“That cannot be true. It is one of the reasons why we’re urging Ghanaians to vote ‘No’,” he said.
He stated that the election principle has the support of the NDC but should be non-partisan.