A local government expert has urged Ghanaians not to politicize the December 17, Referendum on the election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).
A Technical Adviser, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Dr. Eric Oduro Osae said Ghanaians must see the referendum as a national agenda to revolutionarise the nation’s local government system.
“We should take the best of decisions that will stand the test of time; that will be in the interest of mother Ghana. We should take politics out of the referendum on the election of MMDCEs. We should look at what is good for the citizens,” Dr Osae stated in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Thursday in Accra.
“I invite all citizens not to allow the debates and discussions around the referendum to cloud their minds. They should think also that there is also an assembly member and a unit committee member to be elected,” he said.
“So, even as we discuss the referendum, we should start looking at the assembly member and the unit committee member position.”
Dr. Osae appealed to all Ghanaians to take an interest in local governance, prepare themselves and on December 17, go to the polling station to vote in the referendum and to vote for their assembly member and unit committee member.
This, he noted, was important because it marked the beginning of the citizens’ participation in the decision-making that affected their lives at the local government level.
With regards to the latest update on the pending December 17, referendum, Dr. Osae noted that survey by the Institute of Local Government Studies suggested that 75 per cent of Ghanaians would vote yes in the referendum.
“What is basically happening is that because of the interest expressed by people, there is also an ongoing consultation to ensure that we build a national consensus going into December 17,” he said.
He noted that notwithstanding this, the Information Services Department (ISD), the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, were still educating and sensitizing citizenry on the need to go out there in their numbers to vote during the referendum
He said because of the issues surrounding the referendum, it (the referendum) was gradually overshadowing the District Level Election – the assembly member election and the unit committee member election.
“One positive thing that is coming out is that because of the issues that are being discussed in the media, it is now creating a new awareness among Ghanaians about the local government election. So, I am expecting a positive response by way of turnout in the upcoming referendum and local government election,”he said.
He assured Ghanaians that the December 17, the Referendum on the election of MMDCEs and the District Level Elections would come off as planned.
“But what is happening is that consultations are still ongoing, discussions are still ongoing among the various interest groups who said they were going to vote no, to convince them to change their minds to say that they are going to vote yes,” Dr. Osae stated.
“So, discussions are ongoing and I am very positive that before December 17, we will make significant inroads; because this is a national issue, we should have a national conservation to build a national consensus.”
Dr. Osae noted that the moment people were expressing dissenting views; there was the need to bring them back to the discussion table to discuss issues adding, “And I am sure that, that is what is going on.”