The Minister for Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr Dan Botwe says he does not support the postponement of the December 17, 2019 referendum, because of the cost the postponement may come with.
Rather, he prefers that the referendum is withdrawn for it to be organised alongside a future election so that the cost for the organisation would be minimised.
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Providing a clarification on his stance on the referendum whilst speaking on Peace FM’s Kookrokoo morning show on Friday, Mr Botwe said the money to be wasted if it was postponed, would be useful in the construction of roads.
He said it was better the referendum was done alongside the December 17 District Assembly Elections and that the only cost, if it was withdrawn, would probably be on the ballot papers.
Rather, he said if it was to be postponed and organised separately, it was going to be costly in terms of hiring personnel as polling station officers for the over 30,000 polling stations and also devote resources to the exercise.
This is why Mr Botwe who is also the Member of Parliament for Okere in the Eastern Regions says he does not support a postponement for the referendum for it to be organised on its own.
Mr Botwe said his position is for the referendum to be withdrawn in its entirety and when there is another election in future, it would be added to it.
There is currently a public debate on whether or not the referendum which is to decide on allowing political parties to sponsor candidates in local level elections should be postponed for more public sensitisation before the vote.
This is following the canvassing for a ‘NO’ vote initiated by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), which hitherto had on consensus with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) agreed on a ‘YES’ vote campaign and had debated in support of the ‘YES’ in Parliament.
However, at a press conference, the NDC argued that introducing political parties into local level elections will further deepen the partisan politics in communities.
Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution, which is an entrenched provision, 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 election to any public office other than the district assemblies or lower local government units”.
Mr Botwe in an earlier radio interview with Accra based Starr FM said: “People are saying it should be postponed and I’m saying why postpone, it should be withdrawn. Why should we spend money on the referendum when there is rains and roads and we cannot make roads. Why should we waste so much money on that?
“It is not a national (priority). They should leave it since we are reducing cost. Nothing will change if we postpone it,” the former NPP General Secretary told Starr FM on Thursday.