Johnson Asiedu Nketia, NDC General Secretary

PRESS RELEASE BY THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS ON THE WITHDRAWAL
OF THE DECEMBER 17TH REFERENDUM AND AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE 243(1) OF THE
1992 CONSTITUTION.  2nd December, 2019  The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has taken note of the address to
the nation last Sunday night by President Akufo-Addo, in which he
announced the cancelation of the December 17 Referendum and the
withdrawal of the Bill to amend Article 243(1) to ensure the election of
Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives.  The NDC views the cancelation of the December 17th Referendum as a
refreshing victory for the party and the broad coalition of NO
campaigners who rallied to oppose the intended partisan politicisation
of Ghana’s local government system. Our collective patriotic decision to
put Ghana first and preserve the sanctity of the non-partisan local
government system of Ghana has paid off.   The withdrawal of the vexatious Constitution (Amendment) Bill means that
district level elections and local government administration will be
insulated from the vagaries of extreme partisanship which have
characterised politics at the national level. It would afford an
opportunity for Ghanaians at the local level to freely participate in
the governance of their localities, independent of the influence of
partisan machinations as intended by the framers of the 1992
Constitution.  We acknowledge the stance of various organisations such as the National
House of Chiefs, Catholic Bishops Conference, Christian Council of
Ghana, Chamber of Local Governance and the Centre for Ethical Governance
and Administration, as well as academia and patriotic individuals,
which compelled the President to withdraw the Constitution (Amendment)
Bill which sought to introduce partisanship into Ghana’s local
government system.   The NDC finds the reason given by the President as basis for his
decision to call off the Referendum as contrived and self-serving. The
justification of a lack of “broad national consensus” is a only
convenient excuse calculated to save President Akufo-Addo from public
ridicule relative to the abortive amendment of Article 55(3).   We wish to state without any equivocation that the real reason for the
decision by President AkufoAddo to cancel the December 17th Referendum
was nothing but his fear of imminent defeat for a YES Vote had the
referendum come off. His fear of the embarrassment that defeat would
have caused him and his government is what compelled and informed his
decision and nothing more. The cancelation was therefore motivated by
the selfish political interest of President Akufo-Addo and not the lack
on any broad national consensus as he would want Ghanaians believe.  If we may ask, since when did President Akufo-Addo begin to believe in
broad national consensus in the development of key national policies and
programs? President Akufo-Addo has continuously demonstrated traits of
autocracy in the making of critical decisions since his assumption of
office as was witnessed in the matter of the Ghana card project, the
appointment of new EC Chairpersons, the passage of an anti-vigilantism
law, the very recent printing of new currency denominated notes, just to
mention a few.   The only difference this time around, is that President Akufo-Addo could
not prevail against the collective will of a determined people who
would have no more of his divisive and autocratic rule. Therefore,
Ghanaians will not be hoodwinked by the desperate attempts by some
persons to make a listening President out of a consummate dictator who
has simply run out of options.  We are also surprised by claims by President Akufo-Addo that a consensus
had been reached at a meeting with the three former Presidents of Ghana
in 2017, that district level elections should be made partisan. We wish
to put on record that no such consensus was reached at the said
meeting. Indeed President Mahama at the said meeting asked that the
recommendations of the Fiadjoe Commission, as modified by the Government
White Paper be respected. Those recommendations did not include the
involvement of political parties in district level elections. We urge
Ghanaians to treat this falsehood with the contempt it deserves.   Finally, We are deeply concerned that the President took the misguided
decision to direct the withdrawal of the proposed amendment of Article
243(1) which was intended to allow for the election of MMDCEs. The
President based this decision on a claim that there was no national
consensus on the matter.  We wish to point out, that this position is inaccurate to the extent
that almost all stakeholders had expressed support for the election of
MMDCEs. Both the NDC and the NPP had included this in their respective
manifestoes. It is on the issue of the partisan politicisation of
District Assembly and Unit Committee elections that the broad coalition
emerged to oppose.  

The withdrawal of the Amendment Bill on Article 243(1) is completely
unnecessary and brings into question the President’s commitment to his
campaign promise to make the position of MMDCEs elective. It is
violation of a key manifesto promise of the NPP and exposes the fact
that President Akufo-Addo’s much-touted pledge to make the position of
MMDCEs elective has been a quid pro quo all along.   Above all, the withdrawal of the Constitution Bill to amend Article
243(1) amounts to denying Ghanaians their wish to have MMDCEs elected
only because the President could not have his way to make district level
elections partisan. This smacks of a betrayal of the trust of Ghanaians
and further underscores the deceptiveness of President Akufo-Addo and
the NPP.  Signed.  Johnson Asiedu Nketia  

(General Secretary)  



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