President Nana Akufo-Addo has “constitutionally lynched the rule of law” by unilaterally aborting the processes of the 17 December 2019 referendum on whether or not political parties should be allowed to sponsor candidates in local government elections, Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu has said.
Mr Iddrisu stressed: “The sovereign will of the people of Ghana is the question of a referendum for the people to have a say and have an input. That denial by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo amounts to a lynching of the rule of law”.
President Akufo-Addo announced the cancellation of the referendum on Sunday, 1 December 2019, citing a lack of consensus less than three weeks before the polls.
But Mr Iddrisu said on Monday, 2 December 2019 that after triggering the processes for the referendum, it is the Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) that is in charge of organising the polls, adding that it was unlawful for Mr Akufo-Addo to interfere with the work of the EC by unilaterally taking that decision.
Reacting to the development, the Tamale South legislator said: “President Nana Addo Dankwa is not the Electoral Commission of Ghana and has no mandate whatsoever. Neither is he clothed with any mandate as Executive President to interfere with the work of the Electoral Commission”.
He continued: “We find his unilateral usurpation of the powers of the EC in withdrawing the referendum question unacceptable”.
To buttress his point, the Minority leader quoted Article 46 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution which states: “Except as provided in this Constitution or in any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution in the performance of its functions, the Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority”.
Mr Iddrisu said the referendum is governed by C.I. 120, particularly Regulation 13, and “any withdrawal process must demonstrably be in the exercise of the mandate of the Electoral Commission as established under Article 45 of the 1992 Constitution”.
In announcing his decision to halt the process, Mr Akufo-Addo instructed the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama to abort the process and see to the withdrawal of the bills for the amendment of the Constitution, both in respect of Article 243(1) and Article 55(3).
However, Mr Iddrisu said he found that directive wrong as he argued that all the bills submitted, signed and introduced in Parliament are under the signature of the Attorney General.
“President Nana Addo Dankwa needs to be reminded that the sponsor of the process is the learned Attorney General and not the Minister of Local Government,” he said.