Ghanaians have been urged to come out in their numbers during the December 17 referendum to vote massively in favour of the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development said the election of MMDCEs would mean that Ghanaians fully democratised their local government system,like the national level.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Tuesday, Dr Osae said as part of the roadmap towards the election of the MMDCEs, there was a Bill in Parliament to amend that Article 243(1) to take the power away from the President and give it back to citizens, so that citizens would now elect MMDCEs.
He urged all Ghanaians to talk to their Members of Parliament (MPs), who represented them to approve that Bill.
He said once Article 243 (1) was approved, the next important Article to be amended was Article 55(3).
He noted that Article 55(3) was an entrenched provision, which Parliament could not use its numbers to approve.
“You will require a national referendum to be held for the whole of Ghana to approve of it before the amendment can be effective. That is why, come December 17, a referendum is going to be held on Article 55(3) and that referendum is to allow for a multi-partisan local government system in Ghana,” he said.
“Let us come out in our numbers come December 17 to vote massively in favour of the referendum to amend Article 55(3), which will give us the power to elect our MMDCEs,” Dr Osae stated.
He said because the referendum was being held together with this year’s district level elections, there would be three ballot boxes at each polling station – one for the assembly member, the others for the unit committee members and another the referendum.
“So, when you go to the electoral officer, you will be given three ballot papers, one for the assembly member, and one for the unit committee member and the other one, which has a “yes” or “no” on it for the referendum.”
He said once the approval was given in the referendum for the election of MMDCEs, Ghanaians would now elect their MMDCEs on multi-partisan basis, just as they did for their MPs and the President.
“Once that happens, then it means we have fully democratised our local government system just as we have at the national level,” he said.
He said the constitutional requirement was that at the referendum, 40 per cent of qualified voters was required vote and out of the 40 per cent that would vote in the referendum, 75 per cent must vote “yes” in favour of the referendum.
He said if the referendum was successful, Parliament would have to amend Article 55(3) to pave the way for the election of MMDCEs.
Dr Osae said after a successful referendum, 2020 would be used for preparation and campaign towards the MMDCEs elections.
“Politically, parties will prepare their candidates, independent people who want to put themselves up for election as MMDCEs will start preparing themselves,” he said.
He said the election of MMDCEs would take place in June or July, 2021, when this current MMDCEs tenure of office ended.
“We have been given the opportunity to elect our Presidents, we have the opportunity to elect our MPs, we have been denied the opportunity to elect our MMDCEs for a very long time.
“And it has been strategic in my view because we are coming from a military era; this is the time for that power to be given back to us.
“I am calling on all Ghanaians to take an interest in this year’s district level elections, so that we will be able to turn out in our numbers and vote in favour of the referendum.”