FILE PHOTO: A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in stronghold of presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Kibi, December 7, 2016. CREDIT: REUTERS

Sensitization of residents on the December 17 referendum has intensified in the Daffiama-Bussie-District (DBI) of the Upper West Region.

DCE, DBI, Nadi Imoro Sanda

At a Town Hall meeting, the DCE for DBI, Nadi Imoro Sanda, the Assistant Information Officer at the Regional Information Service Department (ISD), Julius Dudimah and the District Director for the National Commission on Civic Education NCCE, Osman Abdul Rahaman all took their turns schooling residents on the need for them to turn up in their numbers and vote ‘Yes’ for the referendum.

Participants

The trio also used the opportunity to answer questions from residents and reduce the misconceptions among them with regard to the essence of the referendum.

On December 17, 2019, registered voters are being encouraged to as part of their civic responsibilities, turn up and vote at a referendum.

The referendum seeks to amend an entrenched clause of the 1992 Constitution, Article 55(3).

If successful, political parties would be allowed to overtly participate in district level elections. 

For a successful referendum, at least 40 percent of registered voters have to turn up to vote.

Out of the 40 percent, a minimum of 75 percent of the vote cast should be ‘Yes’ for the Article 55(3) to be amended.

In line with that, political parties would be allowed to present candidates for Unit committee members, Assembly members and MMDCEs if Article 243(1) is amended by two-thirds of Parliament. 

The DCE for Daffiama-Bussie-Issa, Nadi Imoro Sanda urged voters in DBI to turn out massively to vote ‘Yes’ at the referendum. He said the ‘Yes’ vote is in line with strengthening democracy, deepening decentralization and continuing development.

“I urge all registered voters in Daffiama-Bussie-Issa district to come out in your numbers and vote ‘Yes’ on the referendum day to pave the way for the amendment of Article 55 clause 3 of the constitution so as to enable political parties take part in the local level elections,” he stressed.

Mr. Imoro Sanda pointed out the ‘Yes’ vote will “promote openness, transparency and accountability. [It will also] increase citizen participation in decision making at the district level [while] ensuring judicious use of resources”. 

The Regional Assistant Information Officer at the Information Service Department, Julius Dudimah explained that if electorates vote ‘No’ at the referendum, it will mean the district level elections remain non-partisan.

Assistant Information Officer, UWR ISD, Julius Dudimah

Mr. Dudimah said that if Parliament amends 243(1) despite the ‘No’ vote, MMDCEs would still be elected on non-partisan basis. 

He said to reduce the perceived and apparent problems that may arise if the referendum is successful and Parliament amends Article 243(1), a number of other Constitutional amendments would follow. 

The proposed additional amendment include the Amendment of Articles 242, 243(3) and 248(8), Local Governance Act 2016 (Act 936), Securities and Intelligence  Act 1996 (Act 526).

The others are the District Assemblies Elections Act 1994 (Act 473), the Political Parties Act 2000 (Act 574), Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663) and the Public Financial Management Act 2016 (Act 921).

Mr. Dudimah added that there will be a National Decentralisation Policy along with a National Blueprint on MMDA Management.

DBI NCCE District Director, Osman Abdul-Rahaman

The District Director for the National Commission on Civic Education NCCE, Osman Abdul Rahaman called on the residents present at the Town Hall Meeting to serve as ambassadors for the ‘Yes’ vote.

Story filed by Mark Smith

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