Article 55(3) of Ghana’s constitution states; “subject to provisions of this article, a political party is free to participate in the shaping of the political will of the people,to disseminate information on the political ideas, social and economic programs of a national character and sponsor for any election into any public office either than to district assemblies or lower local government units”
With that, it is clear the constitution bares any political party to involve or sponsor any candidate for the District Assembly elections but it happens all over Ghana.
That has aroused the conversation over the need to ammend that part of the constitution which has prompted the necessary institutions ie the Electoral Commission and and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) to educate and organize a referendum. This will allow a decentralized system at the local government level where MMDCE’s will be elected and Assembly Members contest on a party ticket.
The Electoral Commission will on December 17th organise and supervise elections that will require every Ghanaian of voting age to perform two civic duties simultaneously. The District Assembly elections to elect Assembly Members,unit committee members etc and the referendum to ammend article 55(3).
At the launch of the “Public Sensitization and Awareness Raising Campaign on the District Level Election and Referendum for the Ammendment of Article 55(3) of the Constitution “ in Bolgatanga, The Chairperson of the NCCE Madam Josphine Nkrumah reiterated the involvement of political parties in DLE’s already and some political parties holding secret primaries to select candidates for a particular area.
“We are aware that despite the constitution provision that bares multi party democracy at the district level,political parties sometimes openly supportted Assembly members during the election. In fact in our last engagements over the couple of weeks some members of parliament state emphatically that as we geared towards DLE, parties are seriously carrying out their primaries to fill a particular candidate as an Assembly man or woman and unit committee members “
This she said is the reality on the ground despite all the constitutional provisions. She further urged all citizens to come out vote for or against the ammement as the highest turnout at any DLE,s is 35% which will not be enough for the referendum.
She urged the various groups present to help disseminate the information as her office will also visit Lorry Parks, market places, opening up political debates ,using the traditional media and social media.
Madam Josphine Nkrumah lastly stated emphatically that the referendum is not to elect MMDCE’s but to ammend article 55(3) of the constitution as some media outlets are reporting.
Present at the lunch was the Deputy regional minister Frank Fuseini,Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional area,Deputy regional Chief Imam, reps of Political parties and heads of institutions.