The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has reminded the public that the December 17, 2019 National Referendum will not elect Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs).

The Commission said the referendum is to enable citizens to vote on the proposed amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution that bars political parties from participating in District Level Elections.

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Article 55 (3) which is an entrenched position states that: “…Subject to the provisions of this Article, a political party is free to participate in shaping the political will of the people, to disseminate information on political ideas, social and economic programmes of a national character, and sponsor candidates for elections to any public office other than to District Assemblies or lower local government units”.

The provision can only be amended through a referendum which per Article 290(4) of the 1992 constitution, can be approved when at least 40% of persons entitled to vote, vote at the referendum and at least 75% of the persons who vote cast their votes in favour of passing the bill.

If carried, the proposed amendment will introduce multi-party participation in the local government system in Ghana.

But the NCCE in a statement issued by its Director of Communication and Corporate Affairs, Mrs Joyce Afutu raised concerns that there are wrong impressions in the media that the December referendum will elect MMDCEs.

“As issued by Electoral Commission (EC), the Referendum question will appear on the ballot paper as: Are you in favour of the Bill to amend Clause 3 of Article 55 of the 1992 Constitution to allow Political Parties to sponsor Candidates for election to District Assemblies or Lower Local Government Units”? The electorate may vote YES (colour coded Yellow) or NO (colour coded Dark Brown).”

“A successful amendment of Article 55 (3) implies that, political parties would be able to sponsor candidates for election to District Assemblies or Lower Local Government Units. The outcome of the National Referendum will have either of the following outcomes: If the electorate votes YES, election of MMDCEs, Assembly and Unit Committee Members in the near future will be on partisan basis. If they vote NO, then the election of these candidates for the local level elections will be on non-partisan basis as being practiced now.

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“The erroneous information may cause confusion on the day of election, when citizens do not see a question that relates to the election of MMDCEs. NCCE therefore, urges the media to take note of this important clarification and educate the general public correctly. The Commission reiterates that the Referendum for the proposed amendment of Article 55(3) is to either vote YES, to allow political party participation in Local Governance or NO, not to allow political party participation in Local Governance.”

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