The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has asked Ghanaians to exercise political responsibility as citizens by participating massively in the December 17 referendum.
A communiqué released after their Annual Plenary Assembly held in Elmina in the Central Region, and signed by the President of the Conference, Most Rev Philip Naameh said Ghanaians must place the country first and partake in the upcoming referendum.
“We shall be voting in a historic national referendum. In this referendum, all citizens will answer a simple question on whether or not we favour the amendment of our national constitution to allow political parties to campaign and present candidates for Metropolitan, Municipal and District elections and other Local Government Units.”
“We have an important civic and Christian responsibility to make our voices heard on this matter. Let us put Ghana first and vote massively in the referendum on Tuesday, December 17, 2019,” the Bishops’ urged.
The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference had earlier lamented the seeming lack of information on the upcoming referendum.
According to Most Reverend Naameh, adequate public education on the exercise will fully prepare the ground for a successful referendum.
There are two bills currently in Parliament seeking amendments to Articles 243(1) and 55(3) for the election of MMDCEs and the introduction of political party participation in the local elections.
At the moment, the law, in Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, says District Chief Executives for every district are to be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting.
Article 55 (3) states that “subject to the provisions of this article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character and sponsor candidates for elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units.”
The referendum has become necessary because Article 55 is an entrenched provision of the Constitution and therefore can only be amended through a referendum.
The Electoral Commission (EC) has scheduled December 17, 2019, as the day of the referendum.
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