The President of the House of Chiefs, Agbogbomefia of the Asogli state, Torgbui Afede XIV has asked Ghanaians to vote ‘No’ in the December 17 referendum which is seeking the participation of political parties in local level elections.
According to Torgbui Afede, allowing political parties to participate in the local level elections will further promote exclusiveness associated with political power in the country.
In a statement he signed, the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli said: ” While we are aware that the election of chief executives of districts etc. could result in the coexistence of central government and local government controlled by different political parties, experience clearly demonstrates that the culture of “winner takes all” would prevail at the level to the detriment of our united development endeavors.
“We are concerned that the introduction of partisan policies into local government will be accompanied by the unwholesome political culture and the corruption associated with partisan politics, which has already done a lot of harm to our society and economy”.
The statement further said: “The incidence of exclusiveness, the unhealthy politicization of all issues, the marginalization of citizens who do not belong to the ruling party. and the exclusion of skilled manpower on partisan grounds would be detrimental to development and good governance at thecal level.
“We want the citizenry to know that the referendum is meant to permit unbridled partisan politics into local government and so the merits of the proposed reform should be assessed on that basis. We strongly recommend its rejection by the citizens”.
House of Chiefs divided over statement on rejection of referendum
But, speaking on CNR’s Current Affairs Program, ‘ Eye Witness News’, Chairman of the Governance Committee of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II of Sefwi Anhwiaso in the Western Region says the Statement does not represent the collective view of the House of Chiefs.
“I am not aware of any consultation or meeting. This matter should have been referred to the governance committee of which I am the Chairman but it hasn’t been referred to me. If it came to the governing council, it would have been discussed at the planning committee. But this hasn’t happened so I don’t know who and who came out with this statement on behalf of all the paramount chiefs in the country. Especially when two major political parties have taken a different stance. If we are not careful, we will involve ourselves directly in party politics. So far as I am concerned, this is statement coming from two individuals not the house”, he said
The Referendum which seeks to amend Article 55 (3) to enable political parties to sponsor candidates for election to District Assemblies or Lower Local Government Units has been greeted with mixed reactions from a number of interest groups.
Currently, the law, in Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, says District Chief Executives for every Metropolitan, Municipal and 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.