A senior Research Fellow and Head of Advocacy and Institutional Relations of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Mr Kwesi Jonah, has called on the electorate to vote “Yes” in the December 17 referendum in order to ensure the politics of inclusiveness.
He explained that voting “Yes” would ensure that the smaller parties get a chance to be elected to win seats in the assemblies in order to play a watchdog role of holding officials to account and promote local governance.
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“My Campaign for a “Yes” vote has no material benefit for me, if I do not have money in my pocket at almost 70, this is not the time to do so. I am campaigning because it is in the interest of Ghana,” Mr Jonah said.
He was speaking at a two-day training workshop at Nyanyano in the Central Region last Saturday for selected journalists on the constitutional, regulatory and political processes of the December 17, 2019 referendum and district assembly elections
Mr Jonah appealed to voters to turn out in their numbers, arguing that “more significant development would be seen if we voted Yes”.
“The yes sir master won’t continue and the political dynamics would change in the sense that the President won’t be appointing MMDCEs.”
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Mr Jonah said the calls for the implementation of the recommendations of the constitutional review committee, which proposes the amendment of 97 provisions, 41 of which were entrenched and, therefore, required a referendum to change was mischievous at the moment.
“If we say we would hold 41 referendums now, then we won’t do anything else, and why are some asking for that now when the issue is about electing MMDCEs?”
He said rewriting the whole Constitution would be more appropriate than changing the 97 provisions.
Mr Jonah said with a ‘Yes’ vote at the referendum, the peculiar problems in the districts would be addressed instead of the current situation where it was problems at the national level which gained attention.
“For example, instead of the free SHS, it would be poor roads and teenage pregnancy in the Ahanta West District which would be addressed at the local level,” he explained.
Mr Jonah called for a change from “politics of material things” which saw people focusing on what they would gain to “politics of values” which stood for principles such as ensuring equity, liberty, equality and inclusiveness.
He said: “The level of poverty is sometimes so crashing that people are ready to do anything for money to afford the basic necessities of life and this causes a deficiency or lack of values”.
The President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr Roland Affail Monney, in his welcome address at the workshop, said journalists had a democratic duty in contributing meaningfully to public education, dialogue and debate that would shape the minds and opinions of Ghanaians on the pros and cons of the reforms.
He said with only a month and half to go, there was the need to intensify that role in order to achieve the desired results and, therefore, the organisation of the workshop to map out strategies for the purpose.