Religious/traditional leaders urged to encourage citizens to participate in Referendum

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) on Wednesday urged religious and traditional leaders in the Northern Region to encourage citizens to actively participate in the upcoming District Level Elections (DLEs) and Referendum for constitutional amendment.

Alhaji Abdul Razak Saani, the Northern Regional Director of the NCCE, said this at the launch of a public sensitization and awareness creation campaign on the DLEs and Referendum for the amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, slated for December 17, 2019.

He said citizens’ active participation in the exercise would ensure the election of competent leaders who would be accountable and drive sustainable development.

Traditional authorities, religious leaders, representatives from the Ghana Education Service, Civil Society Organisations, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), youth groups, and political parties, among others, attended.

Mr Kojo Tito, the Secretary to the NCCE, said Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution gave the President the mandate to appoint metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) with two-third majority approval from the assembly.

That, he said, needed to be amended to enhance inclusive democratic governance and transformational development.

He added that Article 55 (3) was an entrenched clause and could only be amended with public approval in a national referendum.

He said the NCCE conducted a research in 2014, which revealed that majority of the citizenry preferred that MMDCEs were elected, hence the referendum.

Mr Tito said DLEs and the Referendum would require citizens to vote on three issues; the election of Unit Committee members, Assembly members and to Vote “Yes” or “No” for the participation of political parties in the election of MMDCEs.

He said at least 40 per cent or more out of the total registered voters must turn out to vote, out of which 75 per cent or more must vote in favour of the Referendum.

He, therefore, encouraged the electorates to come out in their numbers to vote on the slated date to propel sustainable development in their respective areas.

Mr Lukas Yiryel, the Northern Regional Director of the Electoral Commission, said DLEs and referendum would require registered voters to vote on three ballots; the Unit Committee Chairs ballot, the Assembly Members ballot and finally the referendum ballot.

Mr Salifu Saeed, the Northern Regional Minister, in a speech read on his behalf, said the referendum was government’s vision to enhance and strengthen the decentralisation system at the district level and urged participants to carry out the message to help make the vision a reality.