Referendum: Address our concerns – NDC tells govt

Source Myjoyonline

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is holding firm to its position that MMDCEs should be elected on a non-partisan basis.

While reiterating the party’s support to change the law to get MMDCEs elected, Director of Elections of the NDC, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah stressed they do not buy into doing so along political party lines.

Speaking on Joy FM, he dismissed claims from the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) that the party is holding on to its position for selfish reasons.

NDC MPs in Parliament had initially expressed support to involve political parties in the District Level Elections which would affect the MMDCEs as well.

But Mr Afriyie Ankrah said the decision by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) overrules any fore decision taken by a party member.

The Former Deputy Local Government Minister said, his party put together a team of experts and after thorough deliberations, decided to object to making the Assemblies partisan.

He said an example of their security concern is when the President is visiting an area where the DCE or the MCE [who are the Chairpersons of the Security Council] is from the opposition party.

“Who takes charge of security,” he quizzed.

Election of MMCDEs

On the amendment of Article 243/1 to change the position of MMDCEs from being appointed by the President to being elected through Universal Adult Suffrage, Mr Afriyie Ankrah said other things needed to be done.

He said the government must withdraw its current Bill in Parliament and replace it with one that captures their concerns.

The President, for example, still has the power to fire the MMDCE. The NDC says all those additional clauses have to be amended for the entire process to make sense.

Responding to these concerns, however, the NPP’s General Secretary, John Boadu said they have come too far in the process to do this.

He accused the NDC of waiting until it was too late.

He said the NPP is ready to dialogue with the NDC so the two biggest parties can both dialogue on a way forward.

However, the NDC has also pointed out the importance of their demands, insisting that the government must budge.

As it stands, the governing NPP, with its majority in the House, still needs the opposition NDC to amend Article 243/1 to fulfil the campaign promise of making the position of MMDCEs an elected one, since the amendment requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

The amendment of Article 55/3 to include political parties in the Assembly elections also requires a 40 per cent turn out and 75 per cent endorsement to pass.

Experts remain divided on whether to retain the status quo, that is to keep political parties out or to amend the Constitution to bring them in.

The No campaigners say the nastiness of partisan politics must not be extended to local government while the Yes campaigners ride on the argument that multi-party democracy must be extended to every part of the country’s body politic.

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