The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, has expressed surprise at the sudden shift of position by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) regarding the upcoming referendum on the participation of political parties in the district level election.

She described it as shocking, considering the fact that the party had agreed by consensus in Parliament that Article 55 (3) should be amended to allow the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) on partisan basis.

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At a press conference in Accra last Tuesday, the NDC declared that it would campaign to get the people to vote “No” in the December 17 referendum.

Vote Yes

Hajia Mahama said the sudden shift in position by the NDC was strange and called for the people to vote ‘Yes”.

She stated that she found it difficult to rationalise the sudden change in the NDC’s position, having earlier agreed that the said Article should be amended.

“The Minority agreed by consensus on July 29, 2019. They said they were hesitant to amend Article 243 (1) because they wanted to have the referendum so that MMDCEs could be elected on partisan basis, so it is important for us to go for the referendum, get 55 (3) amended before we amend 243 (1). However, we were of the view that Article 243 (1) should be first amended before holding the referendum,” she said.

She added that the argument by the NDC that the government should bring Article 243 (1) to Parliament for amendment was not well-grounded because that article had already been taken to the House.

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Hajia Mahama said even though the Constitution empowered the President to appoint MMDCES, he had called for the referendum to promote democracy at the local level. – GNA

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