Politics of Wednesday, 20 November 2019
The Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak has rendered an unqualified apology to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for opposing the party’s position for a ‘NO’ vote in the upcoming referendum.
In a press statement, he backtracked on his decision to go against his party after coming out to back a YES vote in the referendum which is to decide on allowing political parties to sponsor candidates at district level elections.
“After a detailed discussion of the merits of the issues with leadership, I am convinced that a “NO” vote in this referendum on the current amendment is the way to go.”
Mr. Mubarak now says he has been convinced to follow the party line.
The referendum is to decide on the proposed amendment of Article 55 (3) 1992 constitution that will enable political parties to sponsor the candidates for local level elections.
NDC’s Position on the December 17 Referendum
The NDC is advocating for a NO vote because it is worried that the amendment will open district assemblies and unit committees to “the needless NDC-NPP polarisation.”
The NDC flagbearer, John Mahama backed his party’s position suggesting that an amendment of Article 243(1) of the constitution was more pressing.
Per Article 243 (1) of the 1992 Constitution, District Chief Executives for every district are to be appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of members of the assembly present and voting at the meeting.
NPP’s Position on December 17 Referendum
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) on the other hand is for a YES vote arguing it will strengthen Ghana’s democracy.
President Akufo-Addo has in the past used his platform to urge Ghanaians to vote YES in the referendum. During a two-day tour in Volta region, he encouraged citizens to vote yellow for the ‘Yes’ on 17th of December.
We want to take Ghana one step forward. We are making progress with our democracy on many fronts. This is one of the last remaining barriers that we have to overcome. Support the initiative that the government has taken to bring greater and greater control over local government to the people in the area.”
NCCE on the Referendum
The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has clarified that the referendum is only to vote on the proposed amendment to allow political parties to participate in the District Level Elections.
“The Commission wishes to clarify that the 2019 National Referendum is to enable citizens to vote on the proposed amendment of Article 55(3) of the 1992 Constitution that currently bars political parties from participating in District Level Elections (DLEs), the proposed amendment is to introduce multi-party participation in the Local Government System in Ghana,” NCCE said in a statement.
The Commission called on the public to discard some “misinformation” in the media alleging that the upcoming December 17 national referendum is to elect Metropolitan Municipal District Chief Executives.
Article 55(3) 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”.
Below is the full press release of Ras Mubarak:
For Immediate Release
I wish to convey my regrets and sincere apologies to the leadership and membership of the great Akatamanso family who may have been hurt by my previously held position in respect of the upcoming referendum on article 55 (3) of the constitution of Ghana.
I was invited to a meeting at the party national headquarters to discuss my media interviews on the above-mentioned issue.
The meeting was warm, cordial and candid; and I wish to thank the National Chairman and General Secretary of the party for the opportunity to discuss the matter.
After a detailed discussion of the merits of the issues with leadership, I am convinced that a “NO” vote in this referendum on the current amendment is the way to go.
The NDC is a party I grew up in and hold so dear to my heart. Once again, I offer my unreserved apology.
19th November 2019.