‘Show Interest In Referendum’

Estelle Appiah
MEMBERS OF the Constitutional Review Implementation Committee (CRIC) have called on Ghanaians to show interest in the up-coming referendum on the amendments to some entrenched provisions in the 1992 Constitution.

Dr. Gheysika Agambila and Mrs. Estelle Appiah made the call on Monday in Sunyani, the Brong-Ahafo Regional capital, during a Regional Stakeholders Briefing organized by the CRIC in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The event, attended by representatives of over 60 different institutions and agencies such as the Ghana Bar Association, teacher unions, the clergy, media among others, was to brief the participants on the Constitutional review process and the bills Parliament had to pass for the amendments of certain provisions in the 1992 Constitution.

The Constitution is expected to undergo some fundamental changes following the setting up of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) in 2010 with a duty to consult with the people of Ghana on the operation of the document and on any changes that need to be made to it.

Touching on some of the entrenched provisions that will go through the referendum, Mrs. Appiah said currently Ghanaians are divided over whether the Death Penalty should be scrapped from the nation’s statutory books or not.

According to her, because of the mixed public reaction and how delicate the matter is, Ghana’s referendum will take a different dimension from the usual ones which go with only one question – a Yes/No answer to choose from.

She said two questions will be posed to the electorate – one on the amendment to the general entrenched provisions and the other one on whether the death penalty should be scraped or not.

Mrs. Appiah explained that for the referendum to be successful, 40 percent or more of the total registered voters should vote; and that 75 percent or more should vote yes to the amendment.

To ensure a good turn-out, the referendum will be held side-by-side with the upcoming district assembly elections scheduled to take place later this year.

She therefore appealed to the participants to propagate news about the referendum to the public and educate them on the need for them to take part in it (referendum).

However, participants expressed skepticism about the date. According to them, many Ghanaians have lost interest in the district level elections.

Participants were worried that their inputs would not have any influence on the amendments since the Bill had already been drafted by Cabinet and forwarded to the Speaker of Parliament and further moved to the Council of State for advice.

However, the Committee members assured the public that there was a window of hope for them to make inputs to fine-tune the Bill by making their cases through their MPs so that they (MPs) could discuss their concerns when the Bill returns to the floor of Parliament.

FROM Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Sunyani
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